I was in an emergency room last weekend dealing with my son’s minor injury when I finally came to terms with it. I mean really accepted it. Nearly 20 years later, I understand I was the victim of an abusive relationship.
There was one of those checklist posters hanging on the wall of the bathroom. If you answer yes to X of the following Y questions, you may be a victim of domestic violence and need to get help. I answered yes (in past tense) to every single question.
When I was leaving the relationship, I knew it wasn’t healthy and could lead to even worse. One of his friends actually encouraged me to leave. And a friend of our family who was a police officer focused on domestic violence told us the behavior was “textbook.” But, for some reason, that checklist really struck me like nothing had before. I thought about it all week and wondered how I would have reacted if I had seen it when I was still in the relationship.
Yesterday, during a visit to Baltimore, I stopped by the office of an old colleague. He shared some work with me that his firm, Renegade Communications, is doing for One Love, the non-profit created in the memory of Yeardley Love, the University of Virginia student who was killed by her ex-boyfriend. Their mission is to end relationship violence through education and technology.
One Love developed an app to help people assess the potential danger in their relationships. They took the poster I saw in the bathroom, greatly improved upon it, and made it accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.
My colleague showed me a public service announcement they created for One Love, which shows the app in action. Given my still-fresh experience in that emergency room bathroom, I could hardly pull myself together to continue the meeting after it ended.
One in three women are victims of relationship violence. Making this information more accessible via technology should help many women and the people who care about them … before they end up in the emergency room.
tags:One Love, Renegade Communications, Yeardley Love