In an age in which dating violence is a reality for many young people, the new Cornell chapter of the One Love Foundation aims to define healthy relationships and spread awareness on risks and prevention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of women and 10% of men have experienced forms of intimate partner violence through the form of sexual or physical violence, stalking or psychological aggression. These behaviors are also highly common among college students, said one 2015 CDC survey — reporting that 43% of college women who date have experienced abusive behavior.
To combat these disturbing trends, One Love holds workshops and peer-led discussions to promote and define healthy relationship behavior. One Love also instructs and equips students on how to handle dating violence.
The club, which was initially introduced to Cornell in 2017 by Tim Buttigieg ’19 and Morgan Chall ’19, was an effort to bring more attention to the issue of dating violence.
“[Buttigieg] wanted to encourage positive intervention strategies that will help Cornell students recognize abusive behaviors among their peers,” said Nina Cummings, program director for sexual violence prevention and victim advocacy at Cornell Health’s Skorton Center for Health Initiatives.
However, Buttigieg and Chall were unable to fully register a One Love chapter at Cornell due to lack of support. They both laid the foundation for registering the club, which president Mia SeungEun Lee ’21 and vice president Julia Eddelbuettel ’22 were able to utilize to officially bring Team One Love to Cornell this semester.
“The One Love Foundation’s goal is to bring down the statistics of intimate partner violence and dating violence,” Lee told The Sun. “We want people to become more aware of what relationship health is and [know] the difference between a healthy and unhealthy relationship, and then [be] able to read the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship so that either friends [or] those people themselves can get out of it.”
Currently, coordinators in many pre-existing campus organizations — Panhellenic Council, the Interfraternity Council, Cornell Athletics, the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and the Zeta Psi fraternity — are working to introduce One Love into various communities with pilot workshops, spreading awareness on the dangers of dating violence and how community members can better support each other.
The club aims for a student-driven approach so that One Love is something students are passionate about, rather than a mandatory University program, according to Lee.
According to Lee, student response has been positive, with many remarking that relationship health education was missing at Cornell, and that One Love provides an important platform for spreading awareness.
“It is a great organization and I can’t believe we didn’t have it on campus before,” said Aimé Freedenberg ’21, a One Love coordinator and residential advisor in Low Rise 6.
Freedenberg is holding a One Love workshop on North Campus “for the freshmen to get acquainted about the signs of a relationship abuse and what an unhealthy relationship might look like.”
“The conversations can be hard but they are definitely necessary. And they way One Love works with the short films before a small group facilitated discussion makes it easy for people to participate and get something out of it,” Freedenberg said.
“I just really hope more people will get involved from different types of communities and my hope is that there will be enough people interested … that it can run itself on its own after I graduate,” Lee said.