Seeing October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I felt this form of digital rhetoric fitting. Domestic violence is not a foreign concept to college campuses; Women aged 16-24 experience the highest per capita rate of intimate partner violence.
This video, produced by the One Love Foundation, explains that not all abusive relationships are easy to identify. Often relationships have a gray area between love and control, and these situations are heightened by alcohol use. In fact, alcohol is one of the top 10 signs of an unhealthy relationship.
Women, men, straight, gay – this video shows that domestic violence and abusive relationships can happen to anyone. The rhetoric in this video is powerful. It identifies with a younger audience because most young people like to go out and drink, or use texting often with their partner, or deal with issues of jealousy. The settings behind the different speakers display similar settings of a college campus, too: a fraternity with people drinking and relaxing on a lawn, a chemistry lab, a library, a swimming pool. This helps the intended audience of young people resonate with the video.
The cuts in the video are executed so that the shift from happy go-lucky relationships to dark, abusive ones is abrupt; No one expects these normal, mildly attractive young people to undergo these emotionally abusive activities. This was purposely done because most people think that these situations could never happen to them – but this video illustrates that relationships and situations can change in seconds, and happen to the most “normal” people – even you.
I hope that this video sparks a change in the disturbing statistics surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault on college campuses. If anything, it spreads awareness that not all abusive relationships are easy to identify, and that drinking can significantly affect people’s behavior in an extremely negative way.
As you watch, think about your typical Friday night. You get ready, you text your friends, you’re thinking about your significant other or your hopeful-significant other, and you never expect anything go to wrong. You never see the shift coming. But it can, and it has happened to countless young individuals who feel the same way you do now.