April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month! Visibility is a crucial part of the fight against sexual assault. There are many misconceptions surrounding rape, and it’s an issue that affects many people. It is important to support organizations helping survivors of rape, and to take the issue seriously as something affecting people worldwide.
In honor of SAAM, I wanted to take a look at companies who are helping speak out against rape. Based on my research, there aren’t tons—and I’ll discuss that in my next post.
For now, here are three ways companies are helping start a conversation on sexual assault.
Last month, Christine Mau, a designer for Kleenex, came forward as a survivor of sexual assault. (In case disclosure is necessary, I once interned at Ketchum, who did PR for Kleenex parent company Kimberly-Clark.)
Mau is responsible for the oval-shaped Kleenex box. She also helped design rainbow colored pad and tampon wrappers for Kimberley-Clark’s U by Kotex brand. In light of these accomplishments, she was named a woman to watch by Advertising Age in 2010.
Mau is now the face of NO MORE, a “new, overarching symbol” to brand all efforts to fight sexual assault. The organization seeks to make the NO MORE symbol immediately recognizable, like the pink breast cancer ribbon or the yellow support our troops ribbon.
Mau’s prominent work with Kleenex has been an important part of publicizing the NO MORE movement. Ketchum tweeted about the inspiring story, indicating that Kleenex is standing behind their designer. However, it doesn’t appear that Kleenex is actively supporting NO MORE. Thus, although the Kleenex brand is involved in telling Mau’s story, this is not technically a CSR move.
Paige Denim, a high-end denim brand, developed a “RAINN Blue” wash to benefit the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), an anti-rape organization that runs a national sexual assault hotline. The designer donated 20 percent of proceeds from the denim to RAINN throughout April 2012.
The wash is no longer available for purchase.
In addition, Actress KaDee Strickland worked with Gorjana, a socially responsible accessories company, to develop a necklace especially for RAINN. Gorjana will donate 80 percent of the sale price back to RAINN, and it is still available on the Gorjana website.
Last year, loveisrespect developed the nation’s first text message abuse helpline with the help of sponsors like Mary Kay, Verizon, and mark. Respectively, the sponsors donated $1 million, $250,000 and $100,000 to the program. Teens and young adults could text “loveis” to 77054 to get help from trained advocates.
Crayton Webb, Mary Kay Inc.’s director of corporate social responsibility, said in a press release that Mary Kay was focused on breaking the cycle of domestic violence before it starts.
“Understanding that Millennials and Gen-Y communicate predominantly through text, Mary Kay is excited to support the ‘text for help’ program focusing on prevention,” said Webb. “Our partnership with loveisrespect will offer young women and teenagers another avenue to get help and understand what healthy dating relationships look like.”
Mary Kay’s donation was part of the company’s larger “Don’t Look Away” campaign, which seeks to educate people on the signs of an abusive relationship.
Did I miss any major campaigns? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Stay tuned for my next post on (in my opinion) the relative lack of companies talking about sexual assault.