Wednesday, April 25, 2012

SAAM 2.0: How to Use Social Media to Raise Sexual Assault Awareness

Last year when the Obama administration announced a plan to address the number of sexual assault cases at colleges nationwide, it was an important reminder to many Americans that sex crimes are a real threat both on and off campus.

Considering that every
two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S., and that rape is still the least reported crime in America, it’s essential that we remain vigilant about preventing and educating about sexual violence. In a nod to April’s designation as Sexual Assault Awareness Month or SAAM, some well-respected organizations and institutions are using the power of social media to spread the word about this vitally important issue.

But they shouldn’t be the only ones. Isn’t it time we all joined forces with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in their bid to raise awareness about sex violence? Keep reading for a few tips on how a company, organization, educational institution or any other entity can utilize social media to spread the word about Sexual Assault Awareness Month today and always.

Spread the Word

Kudos should go to the U.S. Navy for
addressing sexual assault and aggression head on. This branch of the military recently began a campaign in honor of SAAM that encourages discussions on healthy sexuality and provides tools for sailors regarding education, prevention and open communication. And guess what? They also turned to the web to publicize their efforts and motivate the general public to join in on the conversation with a Twitter campaign. 

Put Facebook to Work
Remember when Facebook was simply a place to catch up with friends or share cool photos? Well, times have certainly changed as organizations, non-profits and institutions of every size have capitalized on the massive reach of this social media giant. Now it’s your turn to get your message out there regarding SAAM 2012.

Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Keep it timely. Who wants to read about yesterday’s news? Link out to blog posts, newspaper articles and upcoming events that are up-to-the-minute and SAAM related.
2. Keep it relevant. Know your audience and only feed them content they’ll care about.
3. Keep it engaging. Don’t simply talk at people, hold a conversation. Ask a question, publish a poll and encourage likes, shares and comments.

Take it Local
Given that agencies and bodies all over the U.S. will be honoring SAAM in their own way, it’s important to make your message stick where it matters most: home. Once again social marketing offers an opportunity to reach out to your community to engage them in meaningful dialogue. What about writing an educational blog post with a link to the NSVRC’s video on creating healthy sex attitudes?. Then take that powerful statement to the next level by inviting members of your own community to enter a video contest. Let them tell their own story of how they’ve crafted healthy sex attitudes and allow other readers to pick the best entry. By inviting neighbors, friends, loved ones and other locals to share their story online and off, you’ll increase awareness and encourage everyone to join the conversation simultaneously.

Now it’s your turn to begin your own SAAM 2012 social media campaign!

This article was written by Cary Betagole of SEER Interactive. Cary has been working on promoting SAAM in his own time as well as some other sexual assault awareness resources – one being a sexual harassment training quiz and a guide for common forms of workplace sexual harassment.

1 comment:

  1. I think social media is a great tool to spread this message because of how quickly information is circulated on the web. If we continue to have an open dialogue, we can bring light to this dark subject.