Success StoryBreakthrough

Breakthrough Powers Cultural Change to End Campus Sexual Assault

Breakthrough ignited meaningful conversations across campuses to further the discussion on ending campus sexual assaults.

Success Story

Breakthrough envisions a world where all people enjoy their human right to live with dignity, equality and justice. We can build this world by making violence and discrimination against women and girls unacceptable.

Solution Statement

Using Facebook to target students with customized content for their campus has set us up for continued on-the-ground work on sexual violence with both dedicated activists and people who are new to this issue.


Breakthrough ignited meaningful conversations across campuses to further the discussion on ending campus sexual assaults.

  1. Ignited conversations with students through FB about campus norms and behaviors. An average of 100 to 500 comments were posted that were intensely focused on the issues. Multiple articles were written in student newspapers in response to the campaign.
  2. Built relationships with campus groups as a result of the social media campaigns targeting nearly twenty universities with the goal of working together to stop sexual violence and rape culture.
  3. Mobilized greater numbers of students calling for structural change and accountability by campus administration–in particular, to change campus culture and reform policies that give rise to the pandemic.

Campaign Goals

The campaign goal is to disrupt and transform the culture of sexual violence on campuses to make all students safer. By targeting students and people affiliated with universities through social media, Breakthrough spread awareness about issues of violence on campus. They connected largely with student groups with the goal of spurring action and change.

  1. Targeting: Targeted students at specific universities through boosted posts and advertisements.
  2. Comments: Responded to comments and opinions left by students engaging in the conversation about sexual violence on university campuses.
  3. Analytics:Tracked analytics about each university and reach in the ads tool to see the percent of students reached on each campus.
  4. Offline Outreach: Followed up the Facebook campaigns with outreach to campus groups, university newspaper and to university presidents with letters.

Campaign Creative

To transform culture and encourage students to take visible action against sexual violence, Breakthrough posted to students about preventing sexual violence on campuses where sexual violence had been reported. The Facebook posts and ads encouraged students to respond to the posts by sharing opinions and stories and signing petitions.

Campaign Lessons
  1. Build relationships: By responding to questions and engaging with commenters it is easy to identify active supporters and build relationships with them.
  2. Share content from other allies: Facebook is a great place to build partnerships and share information or articles that your audience should know about. Sharing from other organizations or groups allows you to reach a new audience that is already primed for your content.
  3. Ask questions: Facebook can be incredibly useful as an informal focus group. Ask questions of your audience, and see how you can support the work they are already doing.

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