MTV, DoSomething.org launch domestic abuse effort

MTV and DoSomething.org are teaming up to encourage young people to collect unused cell phones to help victims of domestic abuse.

NEW YORK: MTV is working with social change organization DoSomething.org to launch an anti-domestic violence effort targeting teens and young adults.

Called Cell Phones for Survivors, the campaign encourages youths to donate their old cell phones or collect unused phones in their communities.

The accumulated cell phones will be refurbished and sold to make money for the National Network to End Domestic Violence Safety Net Project, which guides victims to use technology to escape their abusers.

There are more than 500 million unused “junk phones” in US homes, and nearly all the materials inside them can be recycled to make products, according to DoSomething.org.

To get the word out, MTV has launched a social media campaign that includes a contest on Instagram and Twitter. The network is asking young people to say why they got involved for a chance to win a “duck phone” autographed by the cast of Jersey Shore. The network has also created a TV spot and it is planning aggressive media outreach, according to Noopur Agarwal, VP of public affairs at MTV.

“Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence -- almost triple the national average,” Agarwal said. “So this is not only an issue that our audience cares about but one that impacts them directly.”

DoSomething.org is also sharing information about the campaign with teen, lifestyle, entertainment, and industry websites. The group is also planning to use its channels to rally its more than 2.4 million followers across SMS and email lists, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get young people involved in the program, said Naomi Hirabayashi, CMO of the organization.

She added that MTV and DoSomething.org will face several hurdles as they try to drive involvement.

“The challenge and the opportunity here is in starting that conversation and arming people with the resources they need to both take action and keep themselves and their loved ones safe,” Hirabayashi said, adding that “domestic and relationship abuse are too often ‘behind-closed-doors' issues.”  

Earlier this year, DoSomething.org and H&R Block teamed up to launch three campaigns to make young people more mindful of how to manage their personal finances.

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