Should corporations do more to help fight sexual assault?

ashleygreene

Twilight actress Ashley Greene speaks at a NO MORE event. Source: Campus Progress

Last week’s post discussed three ways companies are helping fight sexual assault. As a former intern at the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, I was excited to further explore a topic that I care about in the context of CSR. While doing research on these businesses, I figured I’d have a lot of hits –it was the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and I thought corporations would want to get in on the conversation.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find a lot of buzz about SAAM, especially from corporations. From Target to Verizon, a number of corporations and their foundations are supporting organizations like RAINN and NO MORE. However, it doesn’t appear that most make the issue an important part of the corporate communication strategy.

Is this a good move on their part? It’s not a secret that CSR is usually about more than social responsibility. Companies frequently use CSR to make good in areas in which they have some perceived negative effect. No business wants to be perceived as increasing sexual assaults.

However, in my opinion, there could be some good in putting some corporate power behind this important cause. Nearly one in five women in the U.S. report being sexually assaulted, according to a 2011 survey. Statistically, this must include both customers and employees of most, if not all, large corporations. This issue affects every company because it affects our country, and therefore companies should address it.

Furthermore, due to the Steubenville case and other recent events, rape has been a major topic in the media. But rape remains a fairly taboo issue, and this lack of discussion breeds misconceptions. By supporting companies that seek to end sexual violence, corporations could help prompt discussion and be leaders in a crucial conversation on sexual assault.

With or without companies, this conversation is happening. Through movements like NO MORE, survivors and advocates are helping bring national attention to the fight against sexual violence. It’s fantastic to see that a number of companies have helped in the fight, through financial support and otherwise. In my opinion, now is the time for even more corporations to join this important movement.