By Brian Prowse-Gany
On May 3, 2010, University of Virginia senior Yeardley Love was found beaten to death in her off-campus apartment, the victim of a brutal assault by her former boyfriend.
The murder sent shockwaves throughout the campus, and was a wake-up call for the entire country about the horrific nature of relationship violence.
Yeardley’s mother, Sharon Love, has since pledged to bring meaning to this devastating loss by starting the One Love Foundation, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness about the consequences of relationship violence.
Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric sat down with Sharon and One Love Foundation CEO Katie Hood to discuss the new and innovative ways the foundation is using to make young people aware of this important issue.
With the One Love “My Plan” app, users can answer questions to assess the risks and dangers of their current relationship, and then create an action plan based on their unique characteristics and situation. The app can also be used as a decision aid for friends and family who are concerned for a loved one, and it provides 24/7 access to trained advocate support.
The foundation’s Escalation Workshop engages students on college campuses around the country through the short film “Escalation,” which tells the story of two relatable college students who fall in love, but whose relationship ultimately turns violent. After a screening of the film, the students are encouraged to talk about relationship violence in a group conversation led by a campus facilitator trained by One Love. According to the foundation, the response from students who have participated in the workshop has been extraordinary. Our cameras documented the workshop in action at its latest stop at Hofstra University.
The students at Hofstra were so impacted by the workshop that they were inspired to organize their own Yards For Yeardley event, an awareness campaign started by Baltimore lacrosse players last year in which college sports teams from around the country attempt to run 1 million yards in Yeardley’s memory. While teams usually tally their yards over an entire preseason, Hofstra brought out students and faculty from all corners of its athletic department to meet the goal in just two days.
Five years after her daughter’s death, Sharon reflects on the progress One Love has made: “I love the fact that it keeps Yeardley’s memory alive in such a positive way, and I love the fact that we hear feedback from so many people that have gotten out of a dangerous relationship because of us. … I honestly feel like we’re saving lives.”