By: Candace Dold, Contributor
Yeardley Love. The name has been in the headlines and pictures of her have been on the news, around the world for a few years. Unfortunately, that's because Yeardley has become a face of relationship violence. The former United States College Lacrosse standout was brutally murdered in 2010 by her ex-boyfriend, George Huguely.
One in three women experience relationship violence. Yeardley was one of them. However she isn't just a statistic to me. Yeardley was a dear childhood friend. We attended the same elementary school, I was in her sister's class and we all played lacrosse together. I ate pancakes over at their family's home on Saturday mornings after sleepovers and we always waved to people at stop lights on our way to lacrosse practices. I could go on and on about us girls-we lived day by day trying to be our best in life. In 2010, I found myself in a funeral home weeping about the sweetest girl I ever met while hugging her mother, Sharon, and her sister, Lexie.
Sharon and Lexie founded the One Love Foundation in 2010 to honor Yeardley's memory. The organization seeks to prevent future tragedies by raising awareness about the warning signs of relationship violence. The foundation is a leader in the creation of compelling, creative content that motivates young people to stand up against relationship violence.
Now, the foundation has created an impactful movie and workshop called "Escalation." The 40 minute film dramatically depicts a college relationship from its exciting beginning to its tragic end, and a subsequent guided discussion stimulates important conversation among students about relationship violence in their lives. Now, the One Love Foundation is taking the curriculum nationwide.
A screening was hosted in Yeardley's home state of Maryland at the Senator Theatre in Baltimore last week, with more than 100 people gathered from around the country to screen the movie. Sharon Love, lawyers, law enforcement officials, members of the judiciary, people who work with victims of domestic and relationship violence, other families who have lost loved ones due to domestic violence and many concerned citizens were all in attendance. I was honored to be there as well. The common thread was that we were all there to have a better understanding of the dark world of relationship violence. As Sharon Love said prior to the screening, "It's not love, it's control but the hideous thing about it is, it mimics love. It starts out, it seems to be undenying love, that you can't live without the person for a moment. But what it really is, they're taking over that person's entire personality." This movie depicts this unfortunate reality and the warning signs associated with it. The hope is that there will be enough funding and interest to show this movie around the country. The hope is to save lives.
I urge you to read more about the One Love Foundation and help to make a difference.
See it. Share it. SHATTER THE SILENCE. Be 1 for Change.
I Miss You, Yeardley. We will continue to do our best to honor you.