Avon Foundation Steps Forward to Take on Sexual Assaults on Campus

Released earlier this year, a White House strategy paper on sexual assault in university settings offered a grim summary of current events. Per the First Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, published in April, one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. That 20 percent of America's co-eds are attacked sexually while in school is horrific.

And an effective way to stop it, many experts agree, is with improved education and awareness efforts. 

Enter the Avon Foundation, which is making 30 grants totaling $150,000 to colleges across the country to educate their students in domestic violence prevention, safe intervention strategies, and healthy relationship and communication skills. Grant money will support staff trainings, educating student leaders, and the creation of infrastructure to address sexual violence on college campuses in a holistic and proactive, rather than a simply reactive, manner.

Avon's campus outreach project is definitely helpeful, though it's worth noting that the foundation donated the much, much larger sum of $38 million in 2013 to organizations fighting domestic violence in the United States. 

The propensity of makeup companies to have philanthropic offshoots devoted to domestic violence prevention is curiously high. Boutique cosmetics company Haughty Cosmetics, which donates 50 percent of its profits to combating domestic abuse, comes to mind. This year, the Mary Kay Foundation donated $3 million to 150 women's shelters around the country. 

But not all cosmetics companies have navigated the overlap between abuse prevention charity and selling makeup with as much success as Avon. Cover Girl, perhaps you've heard, is having a bit of a public relations problem with its ill-timed advertising campaign targeting women NFL fans during the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal.