“Sexual Assault isn’t binary. Rape is not defined by gender. Just because you don’t fit the narrative of a sexual assault survivor doesn’t mean you haven’t survived.”
Howard Brown Healthcare in Chicago is a healthcare company that caters to the gay population in the greater Chicago area. They created the first-ever sexual harm response team for that community, and I helped them design the materials and strategize their brand’s voice.
We created materials for gay bars, clubs, and gay friendly spaces around Chicago. We built language speaking to both victims and potential predators by pushing consent-based messaging that didn’t shy away from being direct about common fears victims face after being assaulted.
The messaging we crafted had to do a lot of things at once. We had to find a voice that was the perfect balance between trustworthy, clear and direct, but also chill, reassuring, and unaggressive.
We knew that we'd probably only have an instant to tell a viewer what they needed to know, whatever their specific context may be. That meant finding a voice that was the perfect balance between trustworthy, clear and direct, but also chill, reassuring, and unaggressive.
Since it was also coming from a medical authority, the majority of the content also had to be finely tuned to keep it medically and legally appropriate. We had to use one kind of messaging to get attention in the first place, and then transition very smoothly into another kind of messaging that was very neutral, comforting, and informative.
The messaging we created also had to let people know that seeking information from them was safe. If you're not sure where to start, you can always call them to ask what you should do next. It's just a step to help you understand the situation and what your options are.
We didn't have any reference material from existing programs to work with. We were the only ones were making anything like this at the time, so there was nothing we could look at and do a little bit differently.