Socially Responsible Company: “loveisrespect,” America’s First and Only Dating Abuse Text Message Helpline

Harrowingly, one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. So quite rightly, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the States. Taking action during this month is the socially responsible company, Mary Kay, which has awarded a $1 million grant to loveisrespect, America’s first and only dating abuse text message helpline. Mary Kay, one of the world’s largest direct selling companies, is the lead sponsor for this “text for help” service designed to support young people in building healthy relationships and ending dating abuse.

The loveisrespect text message helpline is available throughout the U.S., 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by texting “loveis” to 77054. Teens and young adults will be connected safely and anonymously to trained peer advocates who provide support, safety tips and referrals. Mary Kay’s grant to loveisrespect is a key component of its “Don’t Look Away” campaign, which aims to educate the public how to recognise the signs of an abusive relationship, how to take action and raise awareness of the variety of survivor support services. Crayton Webb, Mary Kay Inc.’s director of corporate social responsibility says, “Mary Kay is focused on breaking the cycle of domestic violence before it starts. This partnership with loveisrespect offers young women and teenagers another avenue to get help and understand what healthy dating relationships look like.”

Mary Kay’s long-term commitment to prevent and help end to domestic violence first started when company founder Mary Kay Ash learned that some Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants were suffering in silence from domestic abuse. Today, Mary Kay Ash’s great granddaughter, Jessica Bair, is an advocate for healthy teen relationships and an alumna of loveisrespect’s advocate program. The grant to loveisrespect is just one of the ways how this socially responsible company is helping to raise awareness and provide support to end domestic violence. The organisation has an ongoing annual grant program which overall has donated $31 million to domestic violence organisations since 2000. This year, the Mary Kay FoundationSM gave $3 million in grants to 150 domestic violence shelters across all 50 states. Each shelter will receive $20,000 to maintain critical services and programs for women, teens and children who are survivors of domestic violence or dating abuse.

Open conversations about healthy, unhealthy and abusive behaviour are critical to preventing abuse and America needs to create a generation that recognises and uses its power to build healthy relationships. And not just the U.S.: the United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that at least one of every three women around the world will be beaten, raped or otherwise abused during her lifetime. In most cases, the abuser is a member of her own family. Sobering thoughts.

Photo Credit: loveisrespect

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