By: Olivia Wile
It is 4:30 in the afternoon on hump day. A group of University of Findlay athletes pile into Malcom Lecture Hall after a long day of classes and practices to sign in for a mandatory presentation they will sit through for the next hour and a half.
Not knowing why they are there, a brief introduction about the One Love Foundation is read to them, the lights are cut and a film begins. Around 40 minutes later, the group of nearly-speechless athletes begin processing what they just saw.
On Wednesday, March 28, Junior Cody Ohnmeiss, a UF wrestler, and Junior Shelbey Carr, member of Oilers Changing Campus Culture (OC3), facilitated the Escalation Workshop, an interactive, multimedia seminar about abusive relationships.
As an athlete himself, Ohnmeiss believes it is especially important for all UF athletes to participate in this program.
“I didn’t realize how big of an issue it was until I saw,” explained Ohnmeiss about abuse in relationships. “[As] leaders on campus, if we take an initiative people will follow.”
Senior Corrina Talamo, a member of the UF swimming and diving team, was among those athletes in attendance on Wednesday. Talamo says she left the workshop with a lot to think about.
“It showed me that perspective is huge in a relationship,” explained Talamo. “It is hard to know what someone might be going through when you are on the outside looking in, as well as how important it is to be there for your friends since you may not truly realize what they are going through.”
According to the One Love website, the foundation was started in honor of Yeardly Love, a University of Virginia graduate and former lacrosse player who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend on March 3, 2010. The Escalation Workshop is just one of the many resources created by the foundation and is described by the website as a “powerful, film-based workshop that opens people’s eyes to the warning signs of relationship abuse.”
Carr says the workshop is important to prevent a tragedy like Love’s from happening altogether.
“I feel this is important because people need to realize the signs to save lives,” said Carr. “Even for them to realize it in their own relationships.”
Associate Director of Athletics Lisa Liota says the purpose of the workshop is not only to educate students about the warning signs of an abusive relationship, but to also encourage the topic of them as a whole.
“It’s a really good conversation that this generation doesn’t talk about,” explained Liota, “healthy versus unhealthy.”
Liota explains that the conversation did not begin with this workshop, nor will it end here.
“I think we are trying through the OC3 student group. We’ve made a lot of strides,” said Liota about the topic of relationships. “We continue to try to get people to hear.”
Though content was emotionally heavy at times, Talamo believes the Escalation Workshop sparked a discussion that needs to happen more often.
“I think that the people running the workshop did a great job guiding the discussion that we had,” said Talamo. “I do think that the material in the video was a little strong, but it was also information that needed to be seen and talked about.”
For more information about the One Love Foundation, the Escalation Workshop, or Yeardly Love, visit https://www.joinonelove.org.