Darkness to Light: Flip the Switch

Listen. Believe. Act. Together with @AlyRaisman we empower adults to prevent, recognize, and report child sexual abuse. #FliptheSwitch 

The Problem

On July 18, 2018, hundreds of survivors of Larry Nassar's sexual abuse were awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs. During her powerful speech, U.S. Champion Gymnast Aly Raisman reminded us that their trauma could have been lessened, and in many cases prevented, if just one adult had listened, believed, and acted.

Child sexual abuse is an epidemic affecting 1 in 10 children in the U.S alone. Sexual abuse robs children of their innocence, costs billions annually, and is a primary root cause of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. Research proves that childhood abuse and trauma are leading causes for many of society’s most urgent problems: disease, suicide, addiction, poverty, joblessness, and more. Victims often carry the trauma into adulthood.

We are left to wonder why this is still happening in so many youth-serving organizations and homes across the nation. We see countless news stories of organizations failing to properly protect children. We hear of abusers who have been manipulating children and families for years before they were caught. Stigma, fear, shame, and misperceptions continue to create barriers to keeping children safe and helping victims heal.

But there is hope.

Since 2001, Darkness to Light has empowered adults in all 50 states and 18 additional countries to protect children. Innovation in its programming, approach, and delivery set Darkness to Light apart. We take a complex problem and break it down in ways that empower the average person to be a part of the solution.

We know the way forward, and you can help.

The Solution

Aly Raisman has partnered with Darkness to Light to #FlipTheSwitch on child sexual abuse prevention. This project is based on a new, groundbreaking approach to reducing stigma, increasing protective behaviors, and dismantling the culture of denial that continues to fail children.

With the support of Aly and in partnership with health behavior change specialists, Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, Darkness to Light is developing a comprehensive behavior change and prevention education program designed to address body safety, reduce stigma, decrease bullying, and increase adult responsibility of prevention of child sexual abuse. Darkness to Light and Ogilvy will combine leading research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics with creative ideas to deliver a campaign that helps to build a culture that supports transparent, trusting relationships where children and parents feel safe demanding safety and success.

Flip the Switch extends beyond simply raising awareness. We will address attitudes and behavioral issues such as:

  • The stigma that surrounds the issue of child sexual abuse;
  • The lack of accountability and culture of prevention in youth athletics and other organizations that has left volunteers, parents, coaches, gym/facility owners, and leaders without clear direction;
  • The lack of knowledge and skill to prepare them to adequately protect children from abuse.

With a three-fold strategy, Darkness to Light will create a campaign that influences and educates adults to take action. To date, Darkness to Light and Ogilvy have conducted the formative research to develop message themes and channels.

Planned Use Of Funds

Flip the Switch is in its development stage. Ogilvy CommonHealth is working with Darkness to Light in a pro-bono capacity to develop messaging. Darkness to Light is seeking funds to test and place the messaging to increase personal responsibility and organizational political will to act and reduce stigma of sexual abuse.

If won, funds would be used toward:

  • Baseline research to identify and understand target populations;
  • Multi-channel ad placements that share messaging and direct people to free resources;
  • Audience testing to determine messages that best resonate, inspire, and lead to action;
  • Expanding availability of free educational programs;
  • Evaluating the impact of our programmatic efforts; modifying our messaging where necessary.

Stage of Development

  • Early Stage
  • Established Prototype
  • Scaling
  • Other

Organization to Receive Funds

Darkness to Light.

This project was nominated by: