Friday, February 21, 2014

It’s Time to Talk

When my daughters were applying to colleges, Martha and I obsessively checked out each campuses security systems.  We each had different experiences with the philosophy and strength of campus security and wanted to know that our daughters would be living in as secure and respectful environments as possible.  

Last year my oldest daughter became entangled in an abusive relationship.  It was a slow escalation from emotional abuse to physical abuse.  When it hit that level, my daughter was smart enough, and lucky enough, to run.  And fortunately she attended a college who took such abusive behavior very seriously.   She reported the situation to campus security who in turn immediately moved her to safe, secure housing and had her boyfriend removed from campus.   They hooked my daughter up with a domestic violence counselor who helped her fill out a police report.  The college  then conducted a full hearing resulting in her ex-boyfriend being removed from his sports team, removed from college housing and my daughter being given an order of protection.   His family fought this, and we were in college hearings and family court for quite a few months.  Fortunately, each time the college and the courts backed up and protected my daughters’ safety.

The good news is that because the college took immediate and serious steps, my daughter was okay.   We put her in counseling for a bit to help her with the emotional trauma, but she has turned this experience around to help others in this situation.

First she hooked up with an on-campus organization known as Heart One, which was started by a young woman who had also experienced relationship violence and wanted to shine a spotlight on this problem.   Her story can be seen here:

From there my daughter became an ambassador to the One Love Foundation where she met and became friends with Sharon Love.  If you don’t know her daughter’s story -  Yeardley Love was a University of Virginia student who was murdered by her boyfriend (Huguely) who  was a lacrosse player with a violent history.   The University had no notification system to alert them of Huguely’s past run-ins with the law.  

"Campuses should absolutely be doing background checks to make sure that serious felonies, sexual assaults or violence or intimate partner crime, gun violence -- that those students are not part of their campus community," the University president  said.  Claire Kaplan, University of Virginia's director of sexual and domestic violence services, agreed that many warning signs were missed in the Love case.

Sharon Love then began the One Love Foundation to end relationship violence through education and technology.

One Love MyPlan App

An anonymous, free application for smart phones and other electronic devices, the One Love MyPlan determines if a relationship is unsafe and helps to create the best action plan by weighing an individual’s unique characteristics and values. In partnership with, the app provides access to trained advocate support 24/7 through an embedded live chat function.

One Love Danger Assessment App

The One Love DA app is a part of the One Love Foundation’s “Be 1 for Change” initiative that serves as the base of a long-term campaign to combat Relationship Violence (RV) in the United States. “Be 1 for Change” serves as a signature program for the One Love Foundation, with an immediate goal of educating, creating awareness and providing resources for people 16–24-years-old.


This is the time of year when high school seniors are making their college choices.  If you know someone at this milestone, I urge you to encourage them to research their prospective college’s security systems and relationship violence policies.  

One in every three women will experience IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) in her lifetime and one of five college females will experience some form of IPV during her college career.  Researchers continue to find a disturbingly high rate of physical and sexual victimization of women by intimate or ex-intimate partners on college campuses, indicating that college campuses constitute at-risk communities for women.  And too many colleges just sweep this problem under the rug.  My daughter was lucky her college was not one of them or her story could have ended very differently.

If you have a young person in your life, I urge you to talk to them about dating violence.   There is a great organization that has plenty of tips to start the conversation.  

It’s time to talk about dating violence because love is not abuse.  

I am so damned proud of my daughter for working to make campuses a safer place for all women.  

No more silence.

It’s Time to Talk.


  1. I wish the world were a safer place, but wishing doesn't change anything. Action changes things. Big, big props to your daughter for turning around her experience and making a difference for young women everywhere. She is the hope of the future.


  2. Those are frightening statistics and stories. But these are great resources and I know a few families I am going to share them with.

    Further, I echo what e said. Your daughter is an amazing young woman! Thank goodness she was able to extricate herself from an abusive relationship before any more damage was done.

  3. Concensus. Kudos to your daughter and thank goodness she had the courage, resources, and support she needed. It is my hope that there are more like her than not for the sake of future generations.

  4. As a survivor of IPV myself (although I was in my 30s) I am very grateful your daughter is okay and that she has the moms she has.

  5. So often kids don't know how to help a friend in an abusive relationship or they don't want to interfere because they know both parties and don't want lose either as a friend. This is a subject parents should be talking about with their kids - not only how to recognize abuse in their own relationships, but also how to help a friend who might be experiencing this. These are great resources and I am grateful that there are caring people who are working to change the culture of looking the other way. Great post.

  6. It's also on the high school level, perhaps even more so because these kids are younger and even more naive. Bing has a lovely student, a young beautiful girl who had a crush on this boy for years and when he finally deigned to date her in her senior year, she fell hard. Bing began noticing bruises on this girl and asked her about them, she seemed to suddenly turn very klutzy, was always slipping on stairs, bumping into doors. She became more and more withdrawn, a bubbly, funny girl gone quiet and fearful. Finally, one of her other students told Bing that this boy was known around school as a "gf beater." Problem was, he was star of the football team, extremely popular, etc. Bing called the girl's parents when she still wouldn't admit that she was being hurt by this boy. Her parents talked to her, etc. As of today, she still insists that he isn't hurting her. It's very frustrating. Bing was approached by the boy's parents and told that they would file a harassment suit if she kept asking questions. Her principal is refusing to get involved until the girl steps up, which is high school policy. Bing says, "We can't do a thing, til the girl sings." It is frustrating.