Kristin Yevoli, a preseason All-American on the Stony Brook women’s lacrosse team, grew up hearing about the story of Yeardley Love, the University of Virginia lacrosse player who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in 2010.
The lacrosse team, which is ranked fourth nationally and has enjoyed its most successful year in program history this season, is familiar with the cause founded in Love’s honor, One Love, as it has participated in the annual Yards for Yeardley run in previous years.
So, Yevoli was excited to learn that she could become more involved with One Love’s cause by running escalation workshops to educate students about domestic violence, which affects more than one in three women and more than one in four men in the United States.
“It’s a prevalent issue in our society that’s not talked about as much as it should be,” Yevoli said in a press release. “It’s something that exists everywhere and I think it’s very important that that’s known.”
Yevoli’s first escalation workshop in March was attended by 50 student-athletes at a Stony Brook Student-Athlete Advisory Committee meeting and was well-received, she said.
She received online training from One Love to guide the 90-minute session, which included watching “Escalation,” a 40-minute film that shows how a young couple’s relationship grows increasingly violent. The workshop then featured a group discussion about the film, which Yevoli described as “heavy,” but said that the discussion she led was respectful and held a feeling of unity, as everyone was exploring the difficult topic together.
“I learned more self-respect and I learned so many signs that people perceive to be normal [that] could be a trigger,” Yevoli said about her experience partnering with One Love. “Everyone wants to portray a perfect relationship on social media, but sometimes this is not the case.”
Her teammates have been receptive to the cause as well.
“When Kristin introduced the fact that we could be involved more directly, I thought it was very important that we tried to spread the awareness through the rest of athletics,” junior defender Vincenza Patrone said.
One Love partners with students nationwide to bring its program to college campuses, its prime demographic. One Love workshops have been held at the University of Virginia, Yale and Duke, among others.
Yevoli lead another workshop for student-athletes on April 20, but she also hopes to see the cause spread throughout the campus, beyond just lacrosse or student athletics.
She is currently working with Stony Brook’s Center for Prevention and Outreach to make the escalation workshop a mandatory part of orientation for new students.
Yevoli graduates this summer with a degree in marine biology, but she still sees a place for One Love and its cause in her life. She plans to remain on Long Island after graduation and said she will return to campus to run more workshops. She also plans to apply for an internship with One Love.
“I want to spread it everywhere I go,” she said, noting that knowing the signs of domestic violence can potentially save lives.