Husson students use common valentine's gifts to convey powerful message

BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Candy hearts and greeting cards.

Typical gifts given to our sweethearts on Valentine's Day transformed to express a powerful message.

Hanna Hembrow, a student at Husson who helped organize the event says, "We demonstrated common unhealthy relationship behaviors that we see all the time through common Valentine's Day gifts."

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.

Casey Faulkingham with Partners for Peace says, "About one in three young people and teenagers experience dating abuse and violence."

Students at Husson partnered with the One Love Foundation.

Hembrow says, "The One Love Foundation is a national campaign. It was founded in memory of Yeardley Love. She was a senior at the University of Virginia who was killed by her boyfriend."

Their hope is to start a conversation.

Hembrow says, "It's something we don't talk about is the right way to respect someone, the right way to show someone you care. A lot of times things can get twisted. That's where these negative relationship behaviors stem from. The normalization of behaviors happens all the time around us."

And that conversation will bring about change.

Hembrow says, "This is really trying to spark that conversation and open some people's eyes that maybe that's me, I'm doing that or I'm experiencing that."

Faulkingham says, "College aged students experience really high rates of abuse so it's so great to have really creative ways to raise awareness to help people recognize what abuse looks like and the resources that exist to help them."

The exhibit is open to students as well as the public every weekday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

It runs through February 28th.

If you visit, organizers ask that you share your experiences via social media using #lovebetter.