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.

Anna Prenzler

Anna is a senior studying business with a minor in writing at the University of Michigan. She believes you can never sing or laugh enough, and you must write things down for two reasons - to remember what happens in your life and to feel something.

3 thoughts to “#ThatsNotLove”

  1. Hi Anna,
    I think the use of a video was a very powerful rhetorical strategy. They created an effect that’s nearly impossible to get from simple words on a page. With the video, you can see the facial expressions of the people, their body language. The zooming in and out of the camera creates the feeling that the audience is interacting with the video itself. It definitely makes the message reach out on a more personal level.

  2. Hi Anna,
    I agree with you in that the rhetoric in this video is extremely powerful. The way the video was made I was able to understand the message more clearly because it was interactive in nature. The gestural and linguistic modes were crucial in conveying the message. This is a great example of digital rhetoric because of the effectiveness of the video and the raw emotion displayed.

  3. Hello Anna,

    Like Allison and Minna, I am struck by the powerful and effective nature of this video! Time and time again within our college culture, mistakes are made and alcohol influences many of the poorly thought out decisions that can occur in bad relationships. As you noted, and as the video makes strong evidence of, it can at times be incredibly difficult to determine an abusive relationship from the non-abusive ones. Witnessing every which setting possible on a college campus in the video, I see exactly what you mean when you noted how the statistics never cease to disturb those who find college campuses to be safe havens for social life.

    Thank you for your post, and all the best,


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