Jane Randel - Creating a Unifying Symbol

The TRAILBLAZERS series highlights the intersectional identities of activists and changemakers in the gender-based violence and domestic/sexual violence prevention movements. For Women’s History Month, we will highlight prominent women working to end violence.

Meet Jane Randel

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You’ve probably heard of Jane Randel, and even if you haven’t, you’ve seen the symbol she helped create as the co-founder of NO MORE, a campaign amplifying the power of the domestic violence and sexual assault movements. Jane’s accomplishments range from consulting with the NFL and NASCAR on addressing domestic violence and sexual assault to wife and mother to Co-President of Karp Randel LLC, a social responsibility consultancy. Jane’s expertise in corporate, business and crisis media relations and branding helped her spearhead what is now Break the Cycle’s national adult coalition, Love Is Not Abuse. Break the Cycle is very proud to profile this accomplished woman, who happens to be our current board president, for Women’s History Month.

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As part of our TRAILBLAZERS series, we will ask featured activists to answer a few questions for us about their experiences in the movement.

Why did you initially get involved with the Gender-Based Violence Movement or Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault prevention?

Serendipity. I came to Liz Claiborne Inc. (now Kate Spade & Company) in 1992, and they had just started a cause marketing effort called Love Is Not Abuse. I started running the campaign in 1995. I’ll admit at the time, I didn’t know much about the issue, but once I started to learn about domestic violence, the injustice of it all - from the abuse to how it’s handled - that was so motivating for me. It is so wrong. Love Is Not Abuse originated, not as direct service, but as a way to “market” the issue in a way that would make it safer for people to talk about. At the time domestic violence was still very much in the shadows. I was really inspired by that marketing challenge. If you look at the way other issues have approached this like HIV/AIDS and breast cancer, you see that it’s possible to get past the hurdle of “untalkable issues,” but it is difficult.

During the Love Is Not Abuse campaign, I was able to work with a lot of experts, but even more importantly, a lot of young people and teens. Hearing their voices is how I became a strong believer in healthy relationship education - if done broadly and well, it can really reduce the prevalence of abuse. What we encountered while working on the campaign, is that parents know they need to talk about drugs, sex, and alcohol...but not healthy relationships. For adults to start having these conversations, we need to start with educating ourselves. Dig deep and figure out those creative ways to talk about it. We still see a lot of adults talking to girls about how to be safe in relationships and in public, but we need to talk with the boys too - on how to be safe, boundaries, expectations, how to trust your gut, etc. It should be an evolution over time. As a parent or caregiver, it’s not saying yay or nay to sex or dating, but explaining what you could be dealing with if or when those issues arise. As a parent, it’s something I continually work on for myself.

Given that it’s No More Week, we have to ask: how did the No More campaign come about?

Anne Glauber, who worked on the Love Is Not Abuse campaign while at Finn Partners, and I talked about how to elevate the issues of domestic and sexual violence. Marketers by trade, we thought a lot about why some things resonate while others don’t. It was important for us to create something that addressed how we make the public less afraid to talk about these issues, while also engaging new people like young people and men. We naturally moved towards a brand...for example, think of the recycle symbol: no matter who is running a particular campaign, when you see those three arrows you know that’s about recycling. We wanted to do that same thing with No More. From the start, we worked a lot with organizations, advocates in the field and funders to make sure it was a viable idea that would be supported by the very people we were hoping to help. No More is really a labor of love. We’ve always intended it to be very inclusive and consider it an open-source campaign.

What do you see as the greatest accomplishments and challenges in the movement thus far?

I would say the most promising achievement is the cohesion and agreement from all levels - laws to direct services - that the education of young people is important. If you can change the hearts and minds of young people by showing them what a healthy relationship looks like and what behavior isn’t acceptable, that makes a huge difference.

Something that’s a challenge, but I think we are on our way to achieving, is the inclusion of men in the movement. The domestic and sexual violence prevention and intervention movements were created and pushed forward by women, and we’ve moved forward, there is an openness and understanding that we need everybody engaged in the issue. Women drive this movement, but we are opening the passenger door for men and saying, “Come drive with us.” Together, we can truly make a difference.

What message do you want to send to young people in the next phase of the movement?

Be a leader. When people, young and old, hold each other accountable for their behavior and when they stand up and say “that’s not right,” that creates a safe environment. Young people tend to go to their friends for advice and help, so it’s really important that you feel comfortable and confident talking about healthy and unhealthy behaviors.

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Women have always been on the frontlines of the movement against domestic and sexual violence. During March, we honor the women who have paved the way for us to have better lives without violence. As our Let’s Be Real member, Brigid, said in her blog about Women's History Month, it’s important for young girls to learn about history and HERstory, so they can dream about the history they’ll change in the future. Jane is one of those role models we want young people, especially girls, to know about. You don’t have to be the working exclusively in the domestic and sexual violence fields to make a difference; you can be a leader for change in your everyday life, just like Jane said in her advice to young people. Thank you, Jane, for bringing your individual talents to the movement in a fresh way that unites us.

-as told to Rachel DeLadesmo, Social Media Coordinator, Break the Cycle

Stay tuned for our next TRAILBLAZERS feature this month!