In the United States, about 20 people are physically abused by their partners every minute, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, volunteers from the Binghamton University Athletics Department and the 20:1 Sexual Assault Prevention Program walked on the Peace Quad at Yards for Yeardley, a national walking event designed to raise awareness of domestic abuse.
Yards for Yeardley is organized by the One Love Foundation, a group created in honor of Yeardley Love, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend at the University of Virginia in 2010. Following her death, Love’s mother and sister founded the One Love Foundation in an effort to educate the public on the warning signs of interpersonal violence.
Last year, 10 SUNY Athletic Conference campuses reached over 25 million yards, according to a SUNY press release. Now, 26 SUNY campuses have partnered with the One Love Foundation to hold Yards for Yeardley events throughout the month of April with the goal of contributing 50 million yards.
Linda Reynolds, an assistant athletic director for student-athlete development at BU, said the event was planned earlier in the year, but is especially timely for students, faculty and staff managing the recent tragedies at the University.
“Initially we had this event planned prior to the tragedies on campus,” Reynolds said. “Myself and [Dara Raboy-Picciano, the coordinator and co-founder of the 20:1 Program], who oversees the Health Promotion and Prevention program [had] coordinated previously to do a One Love escalation workshop earlier in the year. From that, we decided that we would do the Yards for Yeardley event. Now more than ever, it makes sense for us to be doing this.”
Kristie Bowers, assistant athletic director for student-athlete support and development, participated in Yards for Yeardley and said the event was helpful in raising awareness of interpersonal abuse.
“I think that domestic violence is an increasingly hot issue, especially on campus this year, and I think it’s important to bring attention and bring support to those who may have experienced domestic violence and know that there’s resources and allies out there for them,” Bowers said.
According to Reynolds, the University 20:1 Program interns are currently being trained by members of the One Love Foundation on how to run workshops on the warning signs of domestic violence and educate others on the resources available to victims. Using this training, the program plans to hold workshops on campus in the coming semesters.