Reese Witherspoon Presents Avon Global Communications Awards for Speaking Out About Violence Against Women

U.K.’s Women’s Aid, YWCA Canada, Rwanda Women Network and India’s Breakthrough recognized for exemplary communications

Washington, D.C. (Feb. 28, 2012) – Avon Global Ambassador & Honorary Chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women Reese Witherspoon and Avon Chairman and CEO Andrea Jung today awarded four global non-governmental organizations with the inaugural Avon Communications Awards: Speaking Out About Violence Against Women for their campaigns that are bringing attention to the need to end violence against women. Witherspoon and Jung presented the awards, funded by the Avon Foundation, at the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters in Washington, D.C., which brought together more than 1,400 advocates, activists and leaders from 96 countries to collaborate to change attitudes about such violence.  The awards are part of the Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program, which has donated nearly $40 million globally to end violence against women.


   » See more videos and photos of Reese Witherspoon and the Avon Foundation for Women at this week's 2nd World Conference of Women's Shelters.


Avon Communications Awards Winners

The Avon Foundation recognized the U.K.’s Women’s Aid, YWCA Canada, Rwanda Women Network andIndia’s Breakthrough for their exemplary communications campaigns. A global panel of judges selected the winners from among 19 finalists identified through an Avon Foundation-funded global survey to determine strengths and challenges in communicating efforts aimed at reducing violence against women. Survey results revealed that communications campaigns have evolved significantly over the past two decades and the portrayal of women has changed from victim to survivor, empowered by the tools and services available to her.


To view the award-winning campaigns in each of the four categories – Storytelling, Innovative Campaign, Break the Silence, and Global Excellence in Communications – as well as other finalists’ campaigns, please visit: These materials and many others will be available in June 2012 on an online global hub, the Communications X-Change, funded by the Avon Foundation and managed by Futures Without Violence.


  • Storytelling Award Winner:
    Women’s Aid (UK) - CUT the movie campaign
    This movie starring Keira Knightley shows a woman suffering a brutal assault. On the day of CUT’s launch, the story was the most read entertainment story on the BBC News website, and within six days, the film received over a half a million hits.

  • Innovation Award Winner:
    YWCA Canada - “Safety Siren” app and campaign
    This “Safety Siren” app promotes healthy dating and provides specific ways to help stop violence against women. The unique app, which has been downloaded more than 4,000 times, is activated with a press of a button or a quick shake, turning a mobile device into a multifunctional safety device.

  • Break The Silence Award Winner:
    Rwanda Women Network campaign
    The poster shows a disturbing image of a man physically abusing a woman with witnesses watching the assault, demonstrating that violence against women is a societal problem by encouraging community responsibility and victim assistance.

  • Global Award for Excellence in Communications Winner:
    Breakthrough (India) – “Bell Bajao! (Ring the Bell!)” campaign
    This campaign is helping bring domestic violence to a halt through real life scenarios of neighbors interrupting violence behind closed doors. These powerful public service announcements show that “ringing the bell” is one way to break through and end domestic violence incidents without confrontation.


Other Avon Foundation Initiatives at World Conference of Women’s Shelters

Avon Foundation-Funded Domestic Violence Counts Survey
The National Network to End Domestic Violence released its annual Domestic Violence Counts survey, funded by the Avon Foundation. The survey, a one-day snapshot of services provided across the United States, found that more than 9,500 requests from domestic violence victims for services and assistance go unmet every day in the United States. That is almost 3.5 million families that aren’t getting the help they need every year, and 60 percent of those victims are seeking emergency shelter or transitional housing.


For more information about Avon’s efforts to end violence against women around the world, follow us on Twitter through #AvonSpeakout and #IWD.

“As a mother, a daughter, and a sister, I cannot accept the fact that one in three women will be a victim of violence in her lifetime.  I’m proud to be the Honorary Chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women, an organization that has the conscience and courage to tackle the quiet epidemic of violence against women around the world. The Avon Communications Awards I have the privilege to present demonstrate that violence against women is a global tragedy affecting women of every class, race and ethnicity.”
-Reese Witherspoon, Avon Global Ambassador and Honorary Chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women


“It is an honor to be with thousands of leaders from around the world who are united in their mission to eradicate violence against women. Avon is proud to share their commitment to this goal. We are honored to be a leading supporter of the 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters, and are grateful for the work that all of you do day in and day out to ensure that women across the world can find ways to live their lives free of violence.”
-Andrea Jung, Chairman & CEO, Avon Products, Inc.


“Avon and the Avon Foundation are deeply committed to ending domestic violence. Their leadership in this area is making a tremendous difference in the lives of so many women and children. We could not be more grateful for their passion, dedication and support in ending one of the world’s most pervasive problems.”
–Sue Else, President, National Network to End Domestic Violence




About the Avon Foundation for Women and Avon Global Philanthropy
Avon is a global corporate leader in philanthropy focused solely on causes that matter most to women. Through 2011, Avon global philanthropy, led by the U.S.-based Avon Foundation for Women, donated more than $860 million in more than 50 countries for causes most important to women. Today, Avon philanthropy focuses its funding on breast cancer research and access to care through the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and efforts to reduce domestic and gender violence through its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program.


About Avon’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Program
Avon’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program launched in 2004 to support domestic violence awareness, education and prevention programs, as well as direct services for victims and their families. Globally, Avon supports efforts to end violence against women in over 50 countries by raising funds through special product sales and raising awareness through events and with educational information disseminated by 6.4 million global Avon Representatives.