The Twilight star and face of Mark talks about her involvement with LoveisRespect.org, a new resource from the National Dating Abuse Helpline.
Tell us a little bit about the event you're hosting.
The event is for Loveisrespect.org and it's for their "Louder Than Words" launch, and I'm here because I'm the ambassador for Mark. The campaign is dedicated to stopping abuse and domestic violence. They recently created youth advisory board with the National Dating Abuse Helpline.
Who are you most excited to see at the party tonight?
I got to meet a couple of the girls who are the board. They're all very smart girls who are very dedicated. I admire what they're doing, especially at young age; it's incredible and really inspiring.
How did the girls get involved?
Loveisrespect.org did a search, working with the National Dating Abuse Helpline. They had to write essays, explaining how domestic violence has affected them. Twenty-four girls were selected and now they're all out there making a difference, making sure people my age and younger are aware of dating abuse.
The most impressive part is that they're getting down to the bottom of the issue, explaining that it doesn't have to physical. It can start with sending erratic text messages and being jealous—things that escalate into something. Making people aware is the most the important thing. We have to stop the cycle while we're young, because once you've been involved in an abusive relations, it's a lot harder to break that pattern.
How did you get involved?
Mark approached me to be their ambassador, and though I like the products and think they're great, I wasn't interested in signing on to a brand just because it's a campaign. But then I saw this m.powerment aspect. I asked them, "What's your cause, what to you do?" Then they gave me the raw rundown of the statistics. Before I actually knew what the statistics were, I knew domestic violence was out there. But there are a lot of things that people just don't know, and I really believe that people need to know this. It hit home with me because it's my age range and my fans are that demographic. You probably know something who's been abused, or you've been abused, or it's affected you in some way.
What have you learned since getting involved?
I learned that 16 to 24 is the highest percentage of women who are abused. People know that abuse is out there but they don't realize it's such a epidemic.
Tell us a little bit about m.powerment.
It's Mark's philanthropic initiative dedicated to stopping domestic abuse. We raise money to give grants each year to give to organizations who have shelters and help abused women. They put people in the right place and right direction.
How is m.powerment making a difference?
Mark's m.powerment campaign donated $100,000 to start this youth advisory board. Loveisrespect.org is for all ages, but the youth advisory board is zoning in on the age demographic that's highly impacted. They make it easier for adults and teenagers to interact and connect, as far as how we speak to them with through social media.
What are the basics of healthy dating?
One of the big things is the quality of your relationships. You want someone who doesn't need power, someone who lets you discuss your thoughts and views and lets you be the individual that you are. If someone wants so be in a relationship with you, they shouldn't want to control you or change anything about you. Constantly texting you, wanting to control who you're friends with, pushing you to different limits—anyone who puts you in positions you don't want to be in. With mental abuse, it doesn't have to be screaming. Little things lead to larger problems.
What can girls do to educate themselves and get involved?
Loveisrespect.org is a great outlet, and there's tons of information out there. Girls can help other people, and they can educate themselves. They should also visit meetmark.com to learn more about the m.powerment campaign.