1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be in a violent relationship in their lifetime. Close to half first experience violence between the ages of 18 and 24. A discussion on efforts to create a stigma around emotional abuse – a gateway abuse.
Read a full transcript of this interview below:
Traynham: Did you know that one in three women and one in four men will be in a violent relationship in their lifetime? And close to half first experience relationship violence as young adults — get this — between the ages of 18 and 24. Hello, everyone. And welcome to “Comcast Newsmakers.” I´m Robert Traynham, and joining me today is Seanna Bruno. She´s the Managing Director of Partnerships for the organization One Love. -Seanna, welcome to the program. –
Bruno: Thank you for having me.
Traynham: That statistic that I just mentioned a few moments ago is chilling in many, many ways. Why is that the case in 2016, 2017?
Bruno: Yeah, well, most of the reason is because young people just don´t — or didn´t have the educational tools and content that they need to really learn about the nuanced signs of emotional abusive behaviors, what unhealthy relationships are versus healthy relationships. What are those behaviors? How do you identify them and really stigmatize them and get friends, family, you know, people surrounding you to really intervene?
Traynham: You know, Seanna, you mentioned family and friends. Is it maybe because we may have seen a violent relationship in our parents or perhaps maybe in our siblings or other loved ones and that´s almost the norm, in many ways?
Bruno: Yeah, well, I think just culturally, we see lots of emotional abusive behaviors that have become very accepted. We think that this isn´t a women´s issue or a men´s issue. You know, it´s really a public-health issue. How do we get people to recognize those behaviors and say, “You know what? That´s not love.”
Traynham: And, Seanna, to that point about recognizing the behaviors, for the folks that are watching on their smart device or at home, what are some of the warning signs? What are some of the trial balloons that anyone should see, regardless of whether or not they´re in a relationship, or perhaps maybe they see a loved one in an abusive relationship? -What are those signs? –
Bruno: Yeah, so, emotional abuse can be isolation, control, when somebody is actually manipulating you to do things that you feel very uncomfortable about. If you´re feeling those symptoms or you see others surrounding you being isolated or controlled by someone, that´s emotional abusive behaviors, and that´s when it´s really time to step in and say, “You know what? We need to end this. This isn´t healthy,” and move on. You don´t want it to lead — The emotional abusive behaviors can lead to physical violence, and that´s what our core focus is — how do we stop that before it goes too far?
Traynham: And to that point, how do you get more information? How does one say, “You know what? I love this person that I´m with. Perhaps maybe they don´t realize that they´re being emotionally abusive to me. I don´t know if the word ´bullying´ is appropriate. I don´t know if ´a lack of respect´ is appropriate — or maybe all of the above — But I want to get help. How do I do that?”
Bruno: So, our focus is going into high-school and college communities and really just the communities in general, educating through our Escalation Workshop, which is a film-based workshop. And so what we´re doing is teaching about these, you know, emotional abusive behaviors. And when we´re in a school, like a college campus, we actually provide resources at the school to get help, to get counseling. Most students don´t even know that they have those resources available. So we´re actually shining light on those resources.
Traynham: And for those who are saying, “Well, this is the first I´m hearing of this. This is great that you´re doing it, but you´re not coming to my school anytime soon. How can I get more information on the Web?”
Bruno: So, if you go to our website, joinonelove.org, you can actually sign up to join our team. We have Team One Love, where you can actually take action in your community. You can bring Escalation Workshop to your school, whether it´s high school or college. We’re doing a parent-workshop curriculum now. So we´re focused on whole-community engagement. This is, like I said, a public-health issue. How do we educate and empower people in their communities to take action and really build a movement to change these statistics?
Traynham: You know, Seanna, we have about 30 seconds left. I want to go back to a statistic that I mentioned a few moments ago that I don´t think most people maybe understood or perhaps maybe wasn’t paying attention to — one in four men. I think the stereotype is that, you know, this is a woman´s issue, if you will, but it´s not. We have to break down that stereotype. One in four men also experience some type of a violent relationship.
Bruno: Yes, and men are joining our movement, too. Men on campuses across the country have raised their hand, saying, “We don´t want to tolerate this, and we are being victimized, too.” So it´s about engaging everybody in this issue to really change the social behaviors and social norms.
Traynham: Seanna Bruno, thank you very much for joining us. Keep up the great work, and -thank you for the awareness. –
Bruno: Thank you.
Traynham: And thank you for joining us for this edition of “Comcast Newsmakers. “I´m Robert Traynham. Have a great day, everybody.We´ll see you next time.Bye-bye.