Fliflet: How digital outreach is raising sexual violence awareness

Katherine Hull Fliflet, VP, comms, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, details how digital has helped the group promote its message.

Katherine Hull Fliflet
Katherine Hull Fliflet

What role has social media played in the network’s efforts to promote sexual violence awareness?
In the past year, we have put an emphasis on diversifying our social presence and trying out different engagement strategies. Sexual violence is an issue that, for some, can feel very overwhelming or difficult to talk about or approach.

Through our focus on social, we have made significant inroads to making this issue more approachable by sharing and creating digestible information, tips, and news, and being able to engage directly with those who care about this issue. We’ve seen a 40% growth on Facebook, a 20% increase in Twitter followers, and a more than 200% rise on Instagram.

By leveraging social, and our website RAINN.org, we are able to create dialogue, foster conversation, and help share information and tips that can bring people back to RAINN.org to learn more about this issue. We have seen a 31% growth in visitors to our site in the past year; 40% of those on mobile platforms. We are striving toward changing the way Americans think about this issue and respond to sexual violence.

What benefits are there to celebrity or other influencer partnerships?
We work with television writers, producers, and networks to create a responsible airing. We’ve worked with Nickelodeon on the show Degrassi, with CW on Reign, and also with Glee, Bones, and Private Practice.

We connect actors portraying characters who have endured a sexual assault with members of our speakers’ bureau, survivors who come back to us to share their story to help others.

We’re also focused on working with networks to secure donated airtime for PSAs for the national sexual assault hotline. When we see the hotline PSAs airing in conjunction with a television show related to these topics, we see a surge in national demand from survivors reaching out for help – upward of a 200% increase.

What is planned for April’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month?
We are expanding bilingual services and staff to help Spanish-speaking survivors of sexual violence through our online hotline. We’ve made huge investments in social and digital outreach and are working on a major revamp of RAINN.org that we will launch late summer 2015.  

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