October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and educate people on identifying the signs of domestic abuse and getting help when needed. Domestic violence spares no community — people of all ages, gender, socio-economic status and sexual orientation deal with its effects on a daily basis. In fact, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, nearly 20 people suffer physical abuse at the hands of an intimate partner per minute in the United States, equating to more than 10 million people over the course of a year.
In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Seahawks have worked with and made charitable contributions to a number of organizations that promote domestic violence awareness, support survivors of domestic violence, teach people the signs of domestic abuse and how to foster healthy relationships, and give a voice to victims whose voices often go unheard.
One of those organizations is One Love, whose mission is to end relationship abuse and violence by educating people about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors. One Love was founded by the Love family, whose daughter, Yeardley, was killed by her ex-boyfriend in 2010, three weeks before she was set to graduate from the University of Virginia. The organization uses a combination of peer-to-peer conversation and digital storytelling to engage people and teach them what healthy and unhealthy relationship behaviors look like.
"We're more than an organization that promotes prevention of domestic violence, we're a comprehensive organization that really is out to educate all young people about what's healthy and unhealthy," said Michèle Heffron, Executive Director of One Love's Pacific Northwest region. "And we do that through educational, video-based workshops and discussions, and a host of other digital resources through our online education center. We're evolving as we grow."
It was only after Yeardley's ex-boyfriend went on trial that the Love family realized the pattern of domestic abuse that was present in the couple's relationship. One Love's goal is to make sure people know how to identify these warning signs in real time so that tragic outcomes like Yeardley's can be avoided.
"No one understood what they were seeing, or what the warning signs were," Heffron said. "We believe if the people around Yeardley had been educated — including her friends, her family, her coaches, her educators — they may have seen the signs and quite possibly could have prevented her death."
The partnership between One Love and the Seahawks and the Seahawks Women's Association came about after Traci Schneider, wife of Seahawks GM John Schneider, heard One Love CEO Katie Hood speak at an NFL owner's conference. "One Love feels extremely fortunate to partner with the Seattle Seahawks, an organization who is clearly committed to this community and to educating young people about healthy relationships," Heffron said. One Love is carrying out NFL-mandated social responsibility training for the Seahawks, as well as holding Healthy Relationship Workshops for Seahawks staff this year.
One Love also holds these workshops for youth through the Boys & Girls Club of King County, as well as local colleges and schools, working alongside the Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to implement learning materials into curriculums.
"96% of the attendees will recommend it to their friends," Heffron said, "in many cases they'll write in and say, 'You changed my life because of the my workshop experience with One Love."
In May 2022, 12s will be invited to Move for Love, One Love's fundraising event at Lumen Field that will include a 5K run/walk, yoga, food trucks, and a host of other activities revolving around building healthy relationships. One Love always accepts donations, and encourages 12s to join the 5000 Challenge, which is One Love's goal to keep its education free across the state by finding 5000 donors of at least $100.
The Seahawks have also contributed to the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC), which provides critical and comprehensive support and services to children, teens, and adults who have experienced sexual assault. These services include therapy, one-on-ones with parents and caregivers to teach about the signs of sexual assault, and legal advocacy assistance. Click here to find out how you can donate to KCSARC.
New Beginnings is a Seattle-based organization whose mission is to "empower survivors and mobilize community awareness and action to end domestic violence," according to its website. Founded in 1976, they've grown to include a wide range of services for domestic violence survivors and serve over 10,000 men, women, and children each year. New Beginnings offers trainings and workshops, as well as other opportunities to get involved like hosting your own book club. They are always accepting donations here.
Legal Hope (formerly The WAVE Foundation) are a team of pro bono lawyers who provide legal support for domestic violence survivors. Beyond just connecting survivors to attorneys, they provide technical assistance throughout cases, and even partner with law firms and corporations to train their pro bono attorneys. Legal Hope also has the only program in the state of Washington that helps survivors clear their criminal records, since many are wrongfully charged with assault when defending themselves from domestic violence.
The Seahawks also have contributed to DAWN, a nonprofit organization that supports and provides shelter to survivors of domestic violence in South King County, and provides survivors with expert guidance to help set goals to permanently escape dangerous situations.