L’Oréal-owned beauty brand YSL Beauté today held a virtual press conference to launch its ‘Abuse is Not Love’ CSR programme. The event was held in the lead-up to the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women on 25 November.
The initiative aims to raise awareness about the warning signs of intimate partner violence (IPV) and offer practical and financial support to YSL Beauté’s partner NGOs in the UK, France and the US.
IPV is one of the most common forms of violence against women and includes physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse.
The Abuse is Not Love campaign aims to educate two million people by 2030 on the signs of abusive relationships. It is built on three key pillars: training YSL Beauté employees and beauty advisors about IPV in the workplace, supporting NGOs, and funding academic research and education to develop thought-leadership around prevention.
The event was moderated by YSL Beauté’s International Sustainable Engagement and Skincare Communications Project Manager Juleah Aiken. It included a panel discussion featuring YSL Beauté’s key global non-profit partners: It’s On Us in the US, En Avant Toutes in France and Women’s Aid in the UK.
The panel comprised It’s On Us Executive Director Tracey Vitchers, En Avant Toutes Co-Founder Ynaée Benaben, Women’s Aid Acting CEO Nicki Norman, Gender and Behavioural Management Researcher and Academic Dr. Beth Livingston and YSL Beauté General Manager Stephan Bezy.
“According to the World Health Organization, one out of three women experiences intimate partner abuse in their lifetimes,” said Aiken as she opened the compelling session with some hard numbers about IPV. “One woman is killed every three days by a current or ex-partner in the UK, France and the US – making it the lead cause of preventable death of young women.
“Women aged 16 to 24 have the highest prevalence of IPV today and violence against women has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Aiken added.
The virtual event also marked the launch of YSL’s IPV awareness film called ‘9 Warning Signs.’ The film aims to clearly identify the key warning signs of an abusive relationship and promote the early prevention of domestic abuse.
The 9 Warning Signs film will be rolled out across YSL Beauté’s retail network, ecommerce platforms and social media channels. It will also be promoted by YSL Beauté Ambassadors Dua Lipa and Zoë Kravitz.
“Supporting women, especially when it comes to their independence, is central to the way the brand acts. Intimate partner violence hinders the safety, wellbeing and independence of women,” said YSL Beauté General Manager Stephan Bezy. “It therefore felt very natural to work on an issue that stood in opposition to our core values and beliefs.
“We want to make a long-term impact on IPV and to do that we need to work on prevention. We need to raise awareness especially for young people and help them identify the warning signs that can lead to abuse.”
Bezy added, “Our ambition is international, because this issue is international. We want to implement concrete and immediate action which will be significant and long-term. We are honoured to be working with our partner NGOs for this initiative and will extend the programme to include ten more NGO partnerships next year. There is no limit.”
“I knew I wanted to be involved in this initiative when I saw that YSL Beauté was not only taking a strong point of view, but also was making a commitment to drive measurable change via their partnerships with leading NGOs around the world,” commented Dr. Beth Livingston.
“The data on this topic is clear: IPV is a dangerous issue that affects women (and men) in all facets of their lives, including the workplace, and I believe that YSL Beauté’s efforts will help bring important resources and awareness to those in need.”
Women’s Aid Federation Acting CEO Nicki Norman said, “At Women’s Aid, we’ve been working to end domestic violence, and IPV is a part of that. We have a membership base of 117 local organisations on the ground to respond to victims of abuse. Our mission is a world where women’s right to safety and equality is not questioned. Prevention work is such an important element of that; which is why we’re so excited to be working with YSL Beauté on this project.”
It’s On Us Executive Director Tracey Vitchers added, “We often see behaviours of intimate partner violence glamourised on the media. We need to invest in prevention education to help the youth identify these behaviours and reduce the number of young people experiencing IPV.
“We’re excited to work with YSL Beauté team to help educate and spread awareness in college campuses in the US. It’s On Us is launching a pilot partner programme across college campuses with the aim of educating 60,000 students about intimate partner violence and promoting a culture of change.”
En Avant Toutes Co-Founder Ynaée Benaben added, “In order to have a systemic impact on IPV, education and awareness is key. We also need to educate ourselves in order to be a part of the solution. We all need to change how we understand IPV, which is how we can have a more equal society.”