One in three women. One in four men.

Last month, several Peddie students and faculty traveled to the New York Jets Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. to attend the One Love Escalation Workshop. The One Love Foundation works with young people across the country to raise awareness about relationship violence. The group met hosts Mike Maccagnan ’85, general manager of the New York Jets, and his wife, Betty. Here, Elle Grant ’18 shares her experience.

Going into this experience I had few expectations and truthfully no idea what was really going to happen. I figured visiting the New York Jets business and practice facility for this One Love event would be an interesting story to tell my football fan brother (the football part) and give myself a little more awareness (the foundation part). I in no way expected to be presented with the incredible opportunity I received that evening.

I was part of a group of several Peddie students who were invited to view the film “Escalation” created by the One Love Foundation and then partake in discussions with other student athletes. The One Love Foundation was founded in memory of Yeardley Love, a victim of domestic violence who was beaten to death by her boyfriend just three weeks shy of her graduation. The foundation helps students recognize the warning signs of abuse.

The One Love Foundation was founded in memory of Yeardley Love. Photo:
I’ll be honest, viewing the 38-minute film was hard at times, and there are moments that were undoubtedly difficult to watch, perhaps because of their undeniable realness. Ms. Maccagnan informed us before we started watching that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 4-7 boys are faced with symptoms of an abusive relationship in their lifetimes. The age group of 16-24 is the most at risk for an abusive relationship. We wondered: could anyone we know be affected?

At the incredible workshop after the film, students and a college-aged moderator got to go through the film and asked the harder questions about consent, the impact of alcohol and other relationship gray areas. Lots of different people asked questions and contributed to the discussion, and the participation of boys and girls was equal. There is such a stigma about boys and relationship violence and I felt it was really great to see how seriously they took the workshop, giving insight and asking questions.

The program was excellent with a message that truly has life or death implications. As someone who has witnessed relationship violence in friends and family, I can testify firsthand what this kind of manipulation and violence can do to a person. One Love Foundation also emphasizes healthy relationships and their message left us all feeling positive and hopeful about the change we can impact. Not sad about the lives we’ve lost, but empowered by the ones we know we can help, which is really powerful.

I know that the other five students and I who attended the workshop are incredibly motivated and moved to help raise awareness about why this program is so important. All of us will be touched by violence in some way and helping students to know ways and strategies to deal with it when they do is vital.

I am so grateful for this opportunity, to the One Love Foundation and to Mr. and Mrs. Maccagnan for giving all of us the chance to see their facility and be exposed to a great cause. Six of our students have been changed; I feel that the rest of the student body deserves that chance as well.

For more information on how Mike '85 and Betty Maccagnan became involved with the One Love Foundation, read here.