Members of the Castleton men's and women's lacrosse teams have joined together with Castleton's Peer Advocates for Change (PAC) to raise awareness about relationship violence, as both the teams take the field for a One Love game on March 21 beginning at 1 pm.
The One Love Foundation, in honor of Yeardley Reynolds Love, is an organization whose mission is to end relationship violence by educating young people, empowering them to speak up when they see it happening and activating them to be voices leading the call for change. The foundation was created in 2010 to honor the memory of Love, a University of Virginia women's lacrosse player, who was killed by her ex-boyfriend, a member of the UVA men's lacrosse team.
"I think One Love gives a really great voice to a very sensitive topic," said head women's lacrosse coach Hannah Corkery. "As coaches we recognize that our roles go beyond developing lacrosse players. It is also about helping young men and young women grow as people. Yeardley's tragic death not only impacted the lacrosse community but shed light on a larger, more important issue of domestic violence and what can happen when these issue are not confronted openly and honestly."
The most recent data on relationship violence shows that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience it in his or her lifetime. Additionally, females from the ages of 18-24 experience the highest rates of relationship violence and 12 million people overall are victimized in intimate and casual relationships annually. Relationship violence is categorized as a pattern of behavior which involves violence or other abuse by one person against another in a relationship. It can be of a physical, sexual or emotional nature.
Castleton men's lacrosse coach Bo McDougall saw this event as an opportunity for his team to take a stand on an important issue that is prevalent on college campuses.
"We're honored and proud to be able to stand alongside our women's team and take part in the One Love event this weekend," said McDougall. "Relationship violence is a problem that occurs far too often in our country, and on college campuses. We hope that events like this weekend's One Love game can build upon the work already underway by groups like PAC, to help the Castleton community address the issue of relationship violence as an all school issue; and not a uniquely male or female issue."
For the women's lacrosse program the One Love game has an especially personal connection, as assistant coach Caroline McManus lost her sister to relationship violence last May. Though McManus' sister didn't play lacrosse, both McManus and Corkery know former lacrosse teammates who were the victims of relationship violence and saw this as an opportunity to recognize an issue that affects so many college-aged women.
"While I did not know Yeardley, two friends from my childhood were on her team at the time of her passing," said Corkery. "I saw the devastating impact of this event from the women's program, but as well as the men's. I think all coaches have a responsibility to do what they can to educate and protect their players. We are fortunate that the One Love Foundation has given us the tools to do this at Castleton. It means a lot to us both to stand together and stand up to domestic violence as one."
On Saturday against the University of Maine at Farmington, both teams will wear t-shirts with the One Love logo during warmups, and throughout both the men's and women's contests there will be a table in the Spartan Stadium concourse with more information about the organization and how to donate.