Speaker advocates for healthy relationships

Gabriella+Kreuz+and+Bonnie+Simonelli+

Gabriella Kreuz and Bonnie Simonelli

Bailey Boring, News Editor

Being educated about abusive behaviors in relationships can prevent someone from ending up in an unhealthy situation. This is why Gabriella Kreuz started Love Doesn’t Shove. Kreuz speaks to students and parents about identifiable negative behaviors in relationships. She gets the conversation started with the younger generation and educates about unhealthy behaviors. She speaks in an interactive setting where students can get a deeper understanding. She poses hypothetical situations or problems in a relationship and discusses ideas of healthy conflict resolution, and students are encouraged to give their thoughts and opinions.

Kreuz came to speak at Revere on March 22 about abusive relationships and the red flags to be aware of. 

The event took place in the high school auditorium, and both students and parents were encouraged to attend. At-risk student coordinator Bonnie Simonelli planned the event and organized for Kreuz to come talk. She had asked Kreuz and Officer Scott Dressler to speak to the audience about abusive relationships and violence. 

Dressler explained what he spoke about at the event. 

“My role was basically coming from the law enforcement side and just saying what I’ve seen over the course of my twenty-five plus years,” Dressler said. 

Dressler described why Kreuz’s message is important.

“I think it is important, because especially as high school students, a lot of kids get into relationships, and they don’t know what to expect. Maybe they think it’s normal how they’re being treated, if they see that in their own household or maybe they just don’t know. It’s important to know that they should not be treated [poorly,] and it should be a mutually respectful relationship,” Dressler said. 

Simonelli explained why she wanted to bring Kreuz and Dressler in to speak. 

“We had Kreuz here a couple of years ago. . . and I thought she did a great job. I thought Kreuz and Dressler would be the perfect live presenters to talk about domestic violence, dating violence, the law and red flags,” Simonelli said. 

Kreuz was also invited to come speak during Girls with GRIT on International Women’s day. Girls with GRIT is a day of empowering girls grades seventh through twelfth. It was done throughout the county and in a few other states as well. This is Revere’s first time participating in the program. 

Simonelli described what she likes about Kreuz’s program and message. 

“She is so real. I think she talks more about the prevention side of what to look for. . . I think she is a very talented speaker, and she is willing to share her own experiences but more so on the prevention side,” Simonelli said. 

This was Kreuz’s third time speaking at Revere, and Simonelli hopes to have her come back every year. 

Aside from Love Doesn’t Shove, Kreuz works for the Cleveland Guardians and is a freelance broadcaster. She works for Channel 19, and she does lots of commercial and voiceover work. 

Kreuz described what her jobs entail. 

“I work in the sports world of Cleveland. . . I will get hired to be a spokesperson for different projects or even an actor. Some of the commercials that I do have a script and a role that I am playing. . . I also do some corporate modeling, too,” Kreuz said. 

In her free time, Kreuz enjoys writing and singing her own music, which she sometimes records in studios. She also enjoys running. 

Kreuz founded Love Doesn’t Shove in 2014 and turned into a nonprofit organization in 2016. Kreuz has a small team helping with the organization, and she does most of the speaking.

Kreuz explained what inspired her to start Love Doesn’t Shove and why being aware of the red flags is important. 

“I started Love Doesn’t Shove because of my own experiences with violence in an abusive relationship. Growing up in a household where addiction was prevalent, I didn’t have an understanding that there was an unhealthy dynamic. There were some red flags in the beginning that didn’t register because I was used to unhealthy dynamics,” Kreuz said. 

Kreuz went to John Carroll University, where she minored in sociology. She explained how her education made her want to educate others. 

“I was taking all kinds of classes that were actually pretty healing just from being educated about. And then I thought, ‘Wow, that’s interesting; you have to minor in [sociology] to learn about some of these valuable [topics].’ I think we should have this education more readily available and to younger people,” Kreuz said. 

Some of the topics she was learning about included human behavior, gender studies and family violence. Kreuz decided to use her personal experience and her education to start Love Doesn’t Shove. Since 2014, Kreuz has been getting the conversation started in schools and spreading awareness against abusive relationships and violence. 

Kreuz explained what she loves about doing Love Doesn’t Shove seminars. 

“One thing that keeps me fulfilled by it is the fact that I do feel like it helps somebody. Every class or presentation that I have, I know that I am reaching at least one person. . . Maybe not everybody resonates with your message or has the life experience to even understand, but I still think that the education is important and that is why I feel so fulfilled by it,” Kreuz said.

Kreuz described a memorable experience during one of her seminars.

“One of my favorite moments was getting a standing ovation at some of the all boys schools [and teams]. . . It was so rewarding because I felt like ‘that’s cool, I must have resonated with a group that. . .  I may not have much in common with.’ I was super thrilled to realize that what I had to say meant something to them,” Kreuz said. 

Love Doesn’t Shove is not a women’s movement; it is to help get the conversation of emotional abuse and dating violence started. Being affected by an abusive relationship is a genderless struggle. 

“I have spoken to Baldwin Wallace University and John Carroll University football teams. . . and as a woman, I have less in common with those crowds, and it’s challenging to make sure I come across as relatable and someone who is not condemning them. My message isn’t to generalize. I know that sometimes men can feel targeted,” Kreuz said.

Kreuz said what she wants someone in an abusive relationship to hear.

“It is not your fault that someone else’s hurtful behavior is being taken out on you, and you are definitely not alone. You are not weak if you need help getting out of it, or if you need help navigating the situation that you are in,” Kreuz said.

Kreuz has persevered through her past experiences with dating violence and has become very successful both in her working life as well as her running her nonprofit. Kreuz’s message is very important and can help prevent getting stuck in an abusive relationship.