Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?
In 2018, the president of the U.S targeted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and tried to cast doubt on her allegations when she bravely testified against U.S Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh for sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers in the summer of 1982. As a response, we created a dedicated Instagram account (@WhyIDidntReportIt) and a simple Instagram template for survivors all over the world to share the reasons why they didn't report their sexual assaults. Since the launch, we’ve receive more than 30k+ stories from survivors all around the world. We want this project to provide empowering and meaningful experience and also bring together many survivors whose stories' have been silenced and denied.
What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?
The project was created as a direct response to last year's Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh hearing. We were heartbroken by the event and the stigma (and perception) around why people don't report their sexual abuse. The event provoked many survivors to start telling stories and we were shocked by how complex and unsettling the reasons are. We wanted to created something simple and impactful to help these stories to reach even more people.
One of the biggest breakthroughs was when we realized the power of a simple template. We of course wish we had the technical skills or a budget to execute some kind of shiny AR/camera filters to make the project feel more innovative (a bit of creative greed here). Our limitation enabled us to really focus on the cause (and the people) and develop a template that is simple and accessible for everyone.
Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?
The first step was to figure out the simplest yet more impactful way(s) to let people share their stories. We started off by creating a template that people could use and share. We then started posting more than 5000+ fliers all around subway stations, cafes, schools, and public restrooms to further amplify the message.
Was there a moment during the project where you ran into a hurdle; or faced a problem you didn’t know how to solve? Take us to this moment, what happened and what did you do next?
The Instagram page was created to give survivors a safe space where they can share their stories without fear or shame. We're constantly trying our best to monitor the account and make sure we keep the haters and trolls off as much as possible but monitoring all the hateful comments is a daily challenge for us. We now have followers who help us monitor and report triggering/abusive comments on our behalf.
Did the real-world impact meet your expectations? Can you share an example?
Yes, we've received more than 30k stories from all around the world so far and get daily messages from other survivors about how the campaign has given them strength to heal. We also have collaborated with other survivors from other cities and countries to expand the effort. The support from the community gives us strength to keep pushing and fight for the cause.
What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?
We used Instagram for this project.
Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?
Yes, privacy and shareability are two extremely important aspects of the campaign. We want survivors to feel protected as they share their most personal stories with us. At the same time, we (and the survivor) want people to share our account and visual messages to help reach more survivors and change the conversation (and stigma) around sexual harassment. Instagram has let us achieve all of these without compromise.