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Can actually be with an abusive partner and not even recognize it? Unfortunately, it happens more often than you think.
It’s can seem easy spot an abusive partner as an outsider, or as someone who's never experienced abuse. He or she hits you? Abuse. They put you down frequently? Abuse. They controls your every move? Abuse.
The reality is, when you are with an abusive partner, it’s not always that black and white. What if they only threaten to hit you, but never do? What if you’re scared of them, but not all the time? What if they always apologize, gives you lavish gifts after a fight, promises to never do it again? What if they're gaslighting you into thinking your memories of what happened are always wrong?
An app called the myPlan app is a quick way to judge the danger level of one's partner, be it your own, a friend or family member's partner, a spouse or significant other, and applies to opposite-sex as well as same-sex relationships. There's even an option to see how the abusive partner may be harming your pregnancy or children.
It’s a free download, it’s anonymous and it is password protected, so your partner won’t be able to access your information should he or she log on to your phone. Simply answer a series of questions and you’ll receive a score from Variable Danger to Extreme Danger, along with next steps, such as who to call to receive further counseling and advice. Advice on how to create a safety plan could be instrumental in saving your life.
Olive Waxter is the director of events at the One Love Foundation. She says the MyPlan app comes from more than 20 years of research by Drs. Nancy Glass and Jacquelyn Campbell, and their team at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, and was funded by the National Institutes of Health. App designers partnered with the One Love Foundation for the original prototype.
“The research was originally designed to be given in a paper survey format, but the Foundation was eager to develop it into the app in order to make it more accessible to this incredibly at-risk age group: 16-24 year olds,” says Waxter. “The app presents a copious amount of research.”
The One Love Foundation was founded in memory of Yeardley Reynolds Love, who lost her life in 2010 to domestic violence. She was killed by an ex-boyfriend just two weeks shy of her graduation from the University of Virginia. “She lived her life with integrity, gratitude and honesty, yet often with a touch of humor and intent to make others laugh. She saw the best in everyone,” says Waxter. “Today, One Love seeks to prevent future tragedies by raising awareness and educating young people about the warning signs of relationship violence.”
Watch the incredibly powerful PSA created by Johns Hopkins University about the myPlan app here. Search "MyPlan" in the App Store or Play Store for Apple and Android devices to find and download the app.
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