Campaign targets parents; addresses teen pregnancy and statutory rape
United Way of Greater Milwaukee, in collaboration with Serve Marketing, is launching a provocative new “Snakes and Rats” campaign that will deliver a strong message to parents of teens – talk to your kids about healthy relationships before it’s too late.
The powerful ads depict teen girls with snakes and rats crawling on them, with the message; “What kind of man preys on underage girls?” The ads also direct parents to babycanwait.com, a website where they can download a toolkit on how to talk to their teens about healthy relationships.
One of the most shocking and significant challenges the United Way-led Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative continues to face is the link between Milwaukee’s epidemic teen pregnancy rates and statutory rape. Many babies born to teens are fathered by adult men, some significantly older than the young mothers.
“We must act as a community if we are going to change this behavior, and we need parents to lead the charge,” said Nicole Angresano, vice president of community impact, United Way of Greater Milwaukee. “They have the power to help their teens avoid pregnancy, sexual victimization and other unhealthy situations by talking to their children openly and honestly about relationships and sexuality.”
“If we want to get parents’ attention about this issue, then we have to give them a graphic wake-up call,” explains Serve founder and volunteer creative director, Gary Mueller . “When an older man has sex with an underage girl, it’s more than creepy, it’s statutory rape.”
The ads are strategically placed at bus shelters in areas with high teen pregnancy rates. It’s the latest tactic in the United Way-led Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, which has been recently recognized as a national model for successful community collaboration. Earlier this month, United Way of Greater Milwaukee president & CEO Mary Lou Young was invited for a second time to Washington D.C. to meet with members of the White House Council for Community Solutions, to talk about the impact of this collaboration. Milwaukee was one of four communities selected to discuss cross-sector community collaboratives.
Milwaukee’s teen birth rate is currently at a historically low level. City of Milwaukee health officials say the current trend indicates that Milwaukee should be on track to reduce the teen birth rate by 46% by 2015, a goal which was set by United Way of Greater Milwaukee, the Center for Urban Population Health and the Milwaukee Health Department in 2008.