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Joyful Heart in the News
Sexual abuse and domestic violence symbol is launched
Christine Mau doesn't want anyone to go through the abuse that she suffered, which is why she helped design the No More symbol.
No More is an international campaign to raise awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault, using a symbol its creators hope will become as well-known as the pink breast cancer ribbon.
Mau grew up with an abusive father, suffering sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Her father once shot her dog. The cycle continued with an abusive boyfriend. She was used to it.
"Because you saw what your father does or how your parents interact, you just don't know that is not acceptable," says Mau, European design director at Kimberly-Clark. Mau designed the oval Kleenex box.
It took the help of teachers, guidance counselors and friends to show Mau she didn't have to live with abuse. There wasn't any turning point, she says, just love and small gestures that eventually inspired her to leave the toxic relationship she was in. She realized she didn't have to be miserable.
"All those people who did something, and they just intuitively knew how to do it, they really empowered me on how to change my life," Mau says.
She says those friends made her realize "how I was living -- which was afraid and small and really as a possession -- and that wasn't how everyone lived, and that if I wanted something different I could attain that."
Mau left her boyfriend and went to college.
One in four women experience violence from a partner in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One in four women and one in six men were sexually abused by age 18.
Jane Randel, senior vice president for corporate communications at Fifth & Pacific Companies, has been working on awareness of domestic abuse with the company since the 1990's, when the firm was known as Liz Claiborne. Despite greater awareness, Randel says, the issue is still somewhat taboo.
Randel and others decided they needed a universal symbol everyone could recognize. Mau came up with the design concept. Anne Glauber, managing partner at Finn Partners and a member of No More's executive committee, remembers Mau talking about statistics on assault and abuse. 'I would love it to be just zero," she said.
And a symbol was born: a bold circle on a plain background and incorporated in the "No More" name.
Randel hopes people will wear the symbol the way they wear the pink breast cancer ribbon but also share it through social media. She thinks that can be just as powerful as wearing it on a pin or T-Shirt.
Vice President Joe Biden wore the No More logo while speaking on domestic violence in Maryland last week. The symbol has already appeared on NASCAR driver Amber Cope's car and on Law & Order: SVU. The symbol was introduced last week Wednesday at a Capitol Hill briefing, but thousands of people and many celebrities were already saying "no more."
Abuse is "all around us," says Tim Gunn of TV'sProject Runway. "We need to stand together and simply say, what the campaign says, no more."
Gunn joined other celebrities in creating public service announcements that will air this fall.
"I believe because people do know who we are and we are visible, the fact that we're standing up for this and are advocates for it underscores how serious the issue is," Gunn says. "There wasn't one of us who didn't choke up when we were speaking into the camera."