SAU Buzz

SAAT talks relationship violence

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Mar 02, 2018

In the month of February alone, two White House officials have resigned over domestic violence allegations.

Rob Porter, former White House staff secretary, resigned on Feb. 7, after domestic abuse allegations from his two ex-wives hit the news. The New York Times reports that the F.B.I. informed the White House of problems in Porter’s initial background check in November.

David Sorensen, White House speech writer, resigned just two days later after detailed accusations from his former-wife, Jessica Corbett, surfaced. In an interview with The Washington Post, Corbett said she had described abusive episodes to the F.B.I. for Sorensen’s initial background check.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year this equates to more than 10 million women and men, with one in three women and one in four men being victims of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime, reports the NCADV.

Students at St. Ambrose University are stepping up to educate and inform campus about domestic violence and talk about domestic violence awareness.

“Domestic violence tends to focus on violence in the home or with family,” said Seth Brauman, sexual assault awareness team treasurer. “But we’ve realized that domestic violence and relationship violence is also prevalent on college campuses.”

Just one day after Valentine’s Day, the Sexual Assault Awareness Team hosted a relationship violence program called One Love.

On May 3, 2010, Yeardley Love was beaten to death by her boyfriend weeks before their graduation from the University of Virginia. The Love family started the One Love Foundation as a way to honor their daughter’s life and start a conversation about relationship violence.

“We believe that if anyone in Yeardley’s life had understood the signs of an unhealthy and increasingly dangerous, abusive relationship, steps could have been taken to save her life,” Sharon Love, Yeardley’s mother, writes on the One Love Foundation website.

SAAT brought the One Love program to Ambrose last fall, the Feb. 15 session being the second one that they have held. Brauman participated in a 1.5 hour training session to become an official facilitator for the short film and discussion about relationship violence.

“Domestic violence is very prevalent, but relationship violence is too,” Brauman said, “especially with college students coming into college with previous relationships or starting relationships while here on campus.”

As a part of the program, Brauman showed a 35 minute video which followed the lives of fictional college students Chase and Paige. Boy meets girl and everything seems great.

Every few minutes, the characters display relationship violence warning signs, some at first seem common to many relationships. Slowly, the red flags increase in frequency and severity.

“Everything happened so fast,” SAAT member Jen Lorenz said.

The first red flag that made the nine audience members shake their heads was when Chase told Paige “I’d die without you . . . if you ever left me . . .”

The film’s purpose is to get the audience to start thinking about healthy and unhealthy relationships.

“A lot of people have ideas of what unhealthy relationships look like,” Brauman explained. “But it’s a lot harder to think of what you would look for in a healthy relationship.”

Brauman went over some of the qualities of a healthy relationship, which include trust, honesty, independence, respect, and communication.

Signs of an unhealthy relationship include jealousy, manipulation, isolation, belittling, and deflecting responsibility.

While having one of the signs of an unhealthy relationship doesn’t automatically indicate relationship violence, it is important to note escalating behaviors and changes that negatively impact the relationship.

Following the short film, Brauman facilitated a discussion about the content of the film and application for real life situations.

At the end of the film, one thing that Chase and Paige’s friends said was that they saw some signs, but didn’t think it was their place to step in and they couldn’t have guessed the extent of Chase and Paige’s problems.

“The most important takeaway to me is what constitutes a healthy relationship,” Brauman said. “What are some of the things you would expect in a healthy relationship? How would you confront the situation of things are unhealthy for you or a friend, or if a friend is the one making things unhealthy?”

For resources or further information about the program contact SAAT at saat@sau.edu.

National Domestic Violence Hotline:

800-787-7233

800-787-3224 (TTY for Deaf/hard of hearing individuals)