Taylor Marvulli is the Prevention Educator at House of Ruth where she goes out into the community at high schools and colleges to raise awareness about dating and domestic violence in order to promote healthy relationships.
Marvulli said that it is important to begin the conversation about healthy relationships early, particularly in light of the fact that the majority of the people who have experienced domestic violence or rape and sexual assault experience it before the age of 20.
“People don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like or how to respect boundaries. We use seven qualities to define a healthy relationship: communication, honesty, respect, equality, trust, personal space, and consent,” Marvulli said. “What it really boils down to is equality, having shared power.”
In order to prevent college and high school violence in relationships and promote healthy relationships, Marvulli said that if more people spoke out on behalf of the issue there would be less of a normalization of violence and abuse. Marvulli said that this normalization of violence extends even to jokes and conversations among peers where slut shaming, violence, and sexual assault are commonplace.
As far as what parents can do in order to prevent violence on college campuses and teach their kids about healthy relationships, Marvulli said that parents could help empower their children in a healthy way.
“We have a lot of teens that are victims of abuse and get grounded because they ‘should have known better,’” Marvulli said. “Having open conversations with them about consent and healthy relationships while also not being dismissive of their relationships is important.”
Through conversations about healthy relationships and domestic violence on college and high school campuses Marvulli said that she hopes students realize that there’s more happiness and freedom in healthy relationships.
“I hope that they know they can still have relationships and do it in a healthy way and see the freedom and happiness that can come with that,” Marvulli said. “For those who haven’t experienced abuse, some people don’t realize how draining and abusive an unhealthy relationship is. For those that have experienced it, I hope they know that there is a place to turn to and someone for them to talk to.“