BIRMINGHAM, AL — Verizon Wireless has joined with former University of Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson, now with the Atlanta Falcons, for the second year of its sexual assault awareness initiative, “Know It Forward.”
Through public service announcements, Wilson will encourage Alabamians to visit KnowItForward.com and share the facts about sexual assault with their personal network through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The PSAs will air during April, which is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Birmingham, Montgomery and Huntsville Police Departments are also supporting the effort – Birmingham Chief of Police A.C. Roper, Montgomery Chief of Police K.J. Murphy and Huntsville Police Community Relations Officer Harry Hobbs will participate with Wilson in radio PSAs in their respective cities asking residents to know the facts and then forward them on at KnowItForward.com.
Verizon Wireless is a recognized corporate leader for its commitment to domestic violence and sexual assault awareness and prevention. In April of 2010, Verizon’s Know It Forward initiative reached more than 100,000 college students in Alabama with messages sent via Facebook, Twitter, email and text. This year, Verizon is broadening its outreach beyond campuses and hopes to reach the larger community with help from Wilson and law enforcement.
“We launched Know It Forward with college age women in mind because they are at the highest risk for sexual assault,” said Jeff Mango, president – Alabama/Georgia Region for Verizon Wireless. “But we know through the non-profits we work with who deal with these issues on a daily basis that sexual assault can happen to anyone, anywhere – on a college campus, in a corporate office or at the corner store. It knows no boundaries of age, class or culture. That is why we are expanding our outreach in 2011 to the larger community.”
Wilson said he sees sexual assault as an issue that people often don’t want to discuss. Statistics show that he’s right: the U. S. Department of Justice reports that more than 60 percent of sexual assaults, including rape, go unreported.
“I just hope I can help get people talking about sexual assault awareness and prevention,” he said. “If we can get the conversation started on social media by using the resources at KnowItForward.com, we can help empower people to speak up, not only to report assaults but also to prevent them from happening in the first place.”
In addition to forwarding the message, community members can get involved by donating their no-longer used wireless phones, batteries and accessories from any wireless provider to Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program. The phones that can be refurbished are donated to domestic violence and sexual assault organizations to be provided to victims and survivors. Verizon also sells the parts from phones that cannot be refurbished, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to grants for organizations.
Residents can donate their phones at Verizon Wireless’ stores. Go to www.verizonwireless.com/storelocator to find the store nearest you. Donation boxes will also be at police headquarters in Birmingham and Huntsville and at the Family Justice Center in Montgomery during the month of April.
Local businesses and organizations can get involved by requesting a HopeLine donation box for their offices. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
KNOW IT. FORWARD IT. KNOWITFORWARD.COM.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest and most advanced 4G network and largest and most reliable 3G network, and serves more than 94 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 82,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.