“Society thrives when every member is an active participant.” It’s a simple concept and one that I’ve lived by for many years. Studies show that diverse perspectives help drive innovation; that having mixed leadership facilitates organizational growth and success; that an individual’s success feeds back into a society’s success.
I’ve always believed that there are a few basic pillars that help people thrive. They are not exclusive or 100% necessary, but are themes that regularly come up. The first pillar is curiosity. If someone is curious, they will push boundaries and strive to learn more. This usually leads to discoveries, growth and success. The second pillar is education. Providing tools to those who want them allows incredible development and the mindsets for constant learning. The third pillar is having a core support group. Whether that group be family, friends, or partners, having people who you trust for feedback, criticism, and advice is crucial. And the fourth pillar is safety. People need to feel safe to explore, to question, to grow. And when you don’t feel safe, you’re constantly on the defensive, rather than offensive.
These pillars are what draw me to the One Love Foundation. As an advocate for education and empowerment, I feel that many of my values overlap with One Love’s. I love One Love’s mission to educate (especially young) people to recognize healthy and unhealthy relationships and empower them to work for change in their communities. After a family friend told me that he was involved with the organization, I had a visceral reaction in my gut that I had to get involved as well.
Now, I am not personally a victim of relationship violence. And luckily, (although it shouldn’t be “luck,” it should be a given), none of my closest friends have been in physically violent relationships, although some have been in emotionally unhealthy ones. Yet there are so many people in our society – 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men, to be exact – who are victims of relationship abuse. With staggering numbers like that, this isn’t just a victim’s issue, it’s everyone’s issue.
The aspect of One Love that really sticks with me is that, at the core, this foundation is trying to raise the standard for how people treat one another. It isn’t just about helping people who are in abusive relationships, it’s about educating everyone to have and maintain healthier relationships.
One Love does their incredible work by addressing the source of the issue. Very early on in their lives children see the way people in their communities are treated, and whether good or back, this shapes their development. One Love steps into young people’s lives and educates them to enable kids, teens, and adults to identify signs of abusive relationships, react to them, avoid them, and seek help. It’s a communal effort to teach people what is healthy and what is unhealthy.
I hope that by joining One Love’s movement to end relationship abuse by teaching healthier relationships, I can send a very important message that I think a lot of people need to hear: you deserve better. No one deserves to be hurt by someone they love. Day in and day out we read headlines of women who have been beaten, boys and girls who have been sold into slavery, and men who have been attacked, many times by people who “love” them. But #ThatsNotLove. The Merriam-Webster definition of “love” is: strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Affection is not violent. And violence from those we love – the people whom we are most vulnerable with – should never occur or be tolerated.
I hope to use my platform to help One Love reach anybody and everybody who may benefit from the resources they have to offer. I hope to create a discussion about what type of relationship examples we expose our kids to and how we can make them positive examples. And I hope that together we can make more girls, boys, women, and men, feel safe in their most intimate and vulnerable relationships.
For more on Julia, visit julialandauer.com