Each day in the United States, three women are killed by their partners every day. Susie Chase, Executive Director of the Maryland/DC Region of One Love
discusses the importance of education communities on the signs and symptoms of relationship violence and abuse. By stigmatizing unhealthy behaviors, One Love hopes to stop incidents of relationship violence before they have a chance to start.
Traynham: According to the non-profit organization One Love, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men are victims of relationship violence. Hello, everybody, and welcome to "Comcast Newsmakers." I´m Robert Traynham. Susie Chase, the executive director of One Love, is here to discuss the facts and efforts to reverse this alarming trend. Susie, welcome to the program.
Chase: Thank you.
Traynham: I must admit, what I just said -- I´m surprised, but I´m not surprised. I hate to say this, but I´m not surprised by the 1 in 3 number with women. I am surprised by the statistic about men.
Traynham: Do you find that surprising?
Chase: Well, I think everybody wants to see this as a women´s issue, and the reality is, it´s not. When we talk about relationship violence, that definitely breaks a little bit more towards women, but when we talk about relationship abuse, that breaks a little more evenly, so...
Chase: Oh, and we´re talking about emotionally abusive behaviors there and things that I don´t think that we, necessarily, as a culture, have really encompassed under that umbrella of relationship violence and abuse.
Traynham: What does relationship violence and abuse look like? If I´m watching this program now and perhaps, maybe I´m in a relationship, they may be asking that question. Is it verbal abuse? Is it physical abuse? Is it emotional abuse? What does that look like?
Chase: It´s all of those things, and the reality is we don´t have enough education and awareness around this issue, so our culture and our society and our community doesn´t really understand what they´re seeing. I think that is really the genesis of how One Love came to be. If you think about this tragic story where this beautiful young woman who was three weeks shy of her graduation from the University of Virginia was -- her ex-boyfriend broke down her door and beat her to death. Bright, shining light with enormous potential future in front of her, and, tragically, that´s all taken away. And the reality is the entire community knew that they saw something, but they just didn´t understand what they saw. So at One Love, we are deeply committed to this idea that we must educate and raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of relationship violence and abuse and, also, the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
Traynham: Let´s talk about the first part of what you just mentioned, Susie. So, what are some of the programs? What are some of the initiatives that you have in place to reverse the trend that we talked about a few moments ago?
Chase: Well, we´re deeply committed to this concept of education and awareness. And so, in 2014, One Love started to educate on college and university campuses with our anchor content, which is our Escalation workshop, which is a 30-minute film that depicts a college relationship that starts out as the best relationship they´ve ever had and quickly escalates into abuse and violence. We companion that with a 40-minute face-to-face peer discussion, so students have an opportunity to see this incredibly relatable film and then break into face-to-face conversations. And what happens is they go through, they watch this film, they become educated and aware, and then it becomes intensely personal because they realize that all these unhealthy behaviors exist all around them and they see it every day. So that opportunity to break into smaller group discussions is very powerful. And they have to put their phones down, they have to put their laptops down, and they really have to concentrate on that.
Traynham: You said something that -- all of it´s powerful, but the biggest powerful thing that I heard is it´s peer-to-peer, so it looks like them, it feels like them -- it is them, in many ways.
Chase: It is them.
Traynham: Yeah, so, in many ways, it´s actually looking in the mirror, or it could be looking in the mirror and seeing themselves, potentially.
Chase: And that´s been very core to our brand because the reality is individuals between the ages of -- young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 have the greatest likelihood to have experienced relationship violence and abuse, so we really want to make sure that we´re educating that demographic, that age group, but it´s also really important to educate our entire communities. We have to have gatekeepers out there with our parents, our faculty, our coaches. All of us need to understand and share in this common language.
Traynham: Susie, is One Love all around the country? Perhaps I´m in a remote area of the country, or perhaps, maybe, I am in the inner city someplace. Where can folks get more information? Is there a website, and/or is there perhaps a chapter near them?
Chase: Yes. Well, that´s a great question. Thank you for asking that. Anybody -- we want this content to reach everybody in any corner of the country, so they can go to our website, www.joinonelove.org, And we´re positioned perfectly to bring our content virtually, if we can´t get to you, but we do have three regional offices. In addition to our New York headquarters, we´re in Boston, Maryland, and the Bay Area of San Francisco, so we´re able to reach people personally through those regional offices, but, also, virtually.
Traynham: Got about 30 seconds left, Susie. What if you´re not in a relationship, but perhaps, maybe, to your earlier point, you may see someone in an abusive relationship? What do I do? What am I supposed to say? Who am I supposed to go to, if anywhere?
Chase: Well, first of all, we encourage you to go to our website and to look at some of our materials there, but we also encourage you to educate yourself on what those signs of an unhealthy relationship look like -- what are those 10 classic signs of relationship violence and abuse? -- and to just raise that flag and start that conversation.
Traynham: Susie Chase of One Love, thank you very much for joining us. I really appreciate it. I wish we had more time.
Chase: Thank you for having us.
Traynham: And, of course, thank you for watching, as well. For more great conversations with leaders in your community and across the nation, visit comcastnewsmakers.com. I´m Robert Traynham. Have a great day. Bye-bye.