Preventing Violence and Abuse with Social Media and Mobile Phones

Call it by any name—teen dating violence, gender based violence, sexual assault, rape, intimate partner violence, domestic  violence, drama—we need to change our culture in order to stop the violence in our communities. As part of the cultural shift, many activists and professionals in the field are turning to technology.

Start Strong Teens to prevent dating violence and abuseIn the U.S., the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in partnership with Blue Shield of CA Foundation, funded a four year, $18 million dollar campaign called Start Strong to reach 11 to 14 year olds with messages about dating violence and abuse among young teens. Lisa Sohn, of Futures without Violence, talks about the use of digital content created by teens—such as Face It, Don’t Facebook It—as a way for teens today to navigate their relationships in her presentation from YTH Live.

Scenarios USA makes Hollywood-quality films written by young people on topics of sexuality and sexual health. A recent film by a writer in Cleveland, Ohio centered on a young male survivor of sexual assault, and the Scenarios team turned to a group of young activists to use Tumblr to ignite conversations and challenge their peers. David Beasley and Erin Fischer talk about the I Will End Sexual Violence campaign at YTH Live.

There is also Circle of 6, an award-winning mobile app for US college students. With over 60,000 downloads in the first year, Circle of 6 has the potential to make strides in the cultural shift necessary to end sexual and dating violence in our communities. YTH was part of the launch team for Circle of 6 with The Line Campaign (both YTH and The Line Campaign have since sold their rights in Circle of 6 to Tech4Good, LLC).

Skoll World ForumIf you’re wondering what else is going on in mobile, women’s health and violence prevention, you can join the debate at the Skoll World Forum on Global Entrepreneurship, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, MAMA, the mHealth Alliance, Melinda Gates’ Impatient Optimists and Forbes.com. Deb Levine’s piece on what we can learn from mobile microfinance draws the lines from gender-based violence to maternal health and people are talking.


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