Battling Abuse with the Younique Foundation

June 9, 2020

Meet The Speakers

Chris Yadon

Chris Yadon

Executive Director of The Younique Foundation

Listen to the podcast

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What is the Younique Foundation about and what do they do
  • Chris Yadon shares statistics on sexual abuse against women and children
  • What does it take to spread more awareness and address the problem of sexual violence?
  • How to prevent sexual abuse at home and how to start the conversation on consent and boundaries with children
  • Statistical predictors that show the possibility of sexual abuse happening to a child
  • What parents can do to instill self-worth in their kids at a young age
  • What people in the broader community can do to prevent and address sexual abuse
  • How The Younique Foundation has been able to symbiotically grow itself over the last 5 years
  • How companies can find the right organization to support and how company benevolence impacts employee performance
  • Chris shares two success stories from The Younique Foundation

In this episode…

A few months ago, the Buy Box Experts team had the opportunity to visit The Younique Foundation in Lehi, Utah. The Younique Foundation is an organization that helps women and kids who have undergone childhood sexual abuse. They also help parents become more educated about such kinds of issues to protect their kids.

The Buy Box Experts team helped in making blankets which are used by the women in their retreats, and they were also told about the foundation’s Defend Innocence project.

Eric Stopper invited Chris Yadon from The Younique Foundation to talk about their work in addressing sexual abuse issues among women and children. Chris shares grim statistics on sexual abuse in the US, how the foundation helps the victims, success stories from the women they have helped, and what parents and the broader community can do to prevent and address sexual abuse. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

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Episode Transcript

Intro 0:09

Welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast we bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e-commerce world.

Eric Stopper 0:18

Hey and welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast. This is Eric Stopper. This episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. We have a team of consultants come reach out to us there’s lots and lots of issues having to do with Amazon whether it’s shipping or fulfillment or buy box issues or sales or advertising doesn’t matter. Come and talk to us. We’d love to help go to click on the free analysis button and you’ll be connected with me or a member of my team.

Now this episode will serve as a slight but delightfully significant departure from what we normally do on the Buy Box Experts podcast. My guests usually come on to discuss their tools and their platforms. their businesses, their secret sauce, specific to the Amazon platform or e-commerce in general. But we’re going to mix things up today. A few months ago, our team had the opportunity to visit the Younique Foundation in Lehi, Utah, an organization that helps women who have undergone childhood sexual abuse, and they help kids and parents become more educated about these kinds of issues. We made blankets, we were invited to do it, it was so simple.

But we found out that these blankets were going to be used by the foundation on these amazing retreats that these women take. We learned a little bit about their mission and they gave us a tour. And they told us about this project called defend innocence, which I can only describe as a playbook for parents to protect their children and educate them from abuse. I had no idea how bad these kinds of issues were. But rather than trying to explain how bad it is, I decided to reach out to somebody at the foundation to come on the show.

And so today I’m joined by Chris Yadon. He’s the executive director, director of the Younique foundation. He’s previously held leadership positions in the startup tech and nonprofit industries. His expertise centers on heightening awareness to the epidemic of sexual abuse, as well as educating the public on best practices for prevention and the healing services available to survivors. Chris has been featured across several media platforms where he is often requested to contribute as an industry thought leader and expert. Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris Yadon 2:28

Awesome thank you Eric. So good to be here and so excited to you’re taking this little detour. It’s awesome.

Eric Stopper 2:34
Yeah, this will be a fun but very grave conversation for us to have. You are very much on the like executional side of this business of this foundation. Can you kind of give me the background? I know that Shelaine Maxfield was one of the founders of the Younique Foundation. Can you kind of give me the the Quick, quick and dirty of that story and kind of how it came to be

Chris Yadon 3:04

Sure. Shelaine Maxfield, our board chair and president who you referenced, she and her husband felt a deep desire to help deal with an issue that didn’t have a champion. There are lots of people trying to do it. But there wasn’t a strong champion in this industry. Derek had come from Tech. I’ve actually worked with them in tech, as you read in my bio, but they both had someone they knew that had been impacted by sexual abuse. And as they’re discussing, why doesn’t somebody do something about this? They had a deep impression that they needed to do something about it. At this point in their life, they had taken care of their family financially, but felt like they needed to use their finances to do greater good for others. So as our family board members, founding donors, they got this thing started. That’s a little over five years ago, I had a deep relationship with them. And I won’t go into the details of that, because, you know, too boring for podcasts. No. But needless to say, with that strong relationship we dug in together and we started making an impact right away.

Eric Stopper 4:19

Now you mentioned that both of the of the Maxfields had had somebody that they knew impacted by sexual abuse. The stats were the most remarkable thing that I had ever heard. Can you give us kind of a flavor of the stats in this? I don’t want to call it an industry. Yeah, but this problem?

Chris Yadon 4:40

Yeah, so they’re there. It’s an epidemic. I mean, it’s rampant. And even the most conservative estimates show how rampant it is. So the most common stat that’s quoted is one in four girls will be sexually abused by age 18. And one in six boys. With girl stats, the estimates will range from about one and three to about one in seven. The boys are a little broader, you’ll see anywhere from about one in five to about one in 20. But even if you were talking about one in 20, which it’s definitely more common than that, think about that. Think about how many kids you know. And if it’s one in 20, or being sexual that is, that is horrendous. It’s an epidemic and for various reasons, it’s been swept under the rug. So we don’t talk about it a lot. But over the last few years, it’s starting to emerge and you’re seeing a significant movement that’s bringing out of the shadows. Everybody starts to find out about it, find out how prevalent it is. And you know, we’re at the forefront of helping parents eradicate it.

Eric Stopper 5:48

Now there’s an excellent book by Malcolm Gladwell, well called the tipping point. And he talks in there about connectors, mavens and salesmen and how these people will contribute to helping tip a movement in the right direction and sometimes in the wrong direction, right? He talks about that in his book. And so I’m wondering, have we hit that tipping point? And if we haven’t, what’s it going to take for us to get to the point where just everybody knows about it and is aware of it?

Chris Yadon 6:20

Yeah. So I would say No, we haven’t hit that tipping point. And here’s why. What you’re seeing right now, in this emergence or this awareness that’s going on is you’re seeing people hearing about it, people acknowledging that they’re hearing about it, but we’re still not to the point that people are accepting it as reality, or maybe better said, accepting it enough that they’re actually doing something about it. So we’re at that early stage of awareness. You can’t go on a major news channel or even a local news channel and do more than one scroll through the newsfeed And not find a story about sexual abuse. That’s how much we’re talking about it. But people still are saying, well, not my backyard. Right then the NIMBYs of the world not in my backyard. It’s not happening here. It’s not happening to my family. It’s not happening in my church. It’s not happening to my employees. It’s not happening, you know, it’s happening somewhere else. And the reality is statistics and studies continue to show sexual abuse No, no knows no boundaries, it impacts every socio economic group, it impacts every race or religion impacts everywhere. And so we’re at that stage where we’re starting to talk about it, but we’re still going. I’m not sure do I really believe this? And that’s the next hurdle to climb.

Eric Stopper 7:51

You know, I almost wonder if the problem becomes

Eric Stopper 7:59

Like, I don’t know what to do, because I was watching an interview a few months ago with Ben Shapiro. And you know, whatever your opinions on Ben Shapiro, I like I disagree with about 50% of what the guy says, but he’s a smart guy. And so he was asked about how minorities and women will often criticize those outside of their groups for not being sensitive to or helping with certain issues that they’re facing. And his response, right, he’s this white Jewish male. And his response was essentially, well, like, tell me, tell me what to do. And I’ll do it. You know, I want to help people want to help but, but willingness is not often enough. Sometimes you have to build the roadmap for them. And so, like, what can we do? What can I and our listeners, who are probably parents, what can we do? What are some of the first steps?

Chris Yadon 8:54

Yeah, so if you’re talking about what can I do in my own home, let me address that. And then maybe I’ll dress separately. What can I do in my broader community, because they’re very different answers. The key in my own home, it’s all about educating myself as a parent, just a little bit of education can go a long way, in reducing the likelihood that your child will either be abused or will be abusing another child. And that education is not hard to get out. It’s not hard to consume, but what it is is a little uncomfortable. It’s a little uncomfortable for me as a parent to think about. It’s a little bit uncomfortable for me as a parent to read about. And so I’ve got to get over that awkwardness. I’ve got to get over that initial discomfort as a parent to say, Hey, this is important. I’m going to give it a little bit of time and if I can give it a little time, I don’t have to put my child in bubble wrap, but just know a couple of basic things. Things will really reduce the likelihood that my child will be abused. So that’s the biggie inside the home.

Eric Stopper 10:08

youth. Yeah, let’s let’s address the broader community in a second because you have a question and and also, you’ve got a captive audience. educate us. Give us some of this education that will help us with our kids. I’ve got a three year old little boy, right? I couldn’t I couldn’t bear to have something like this happen. So give it to me straight. What do I need to do? What’s my education?

Chris Yadon 10:30

Yeah, so number one, is you need to open dialogue with your child around sexual sexual health. And that changes from a very young child up to your 17 year old that’s about to graduate and leave and go to college. You know, with your three year old, what are you talking about right now with your three year old, you’re talking about things like privacy and boundaries in them getting to know their physical body, right? You’re not talking about the details of sex or consent or anything like that, but you’re talking about those those basic things around boundary. And maybe I’ll go back, you actually are to some degree talking about consent, when you’re talking about boundaries, because you’re teaching those early things that hey, when, when they’re their little brother or little sister says no, or doesn’t like something, you respect that. Right? You don’t keep pushing on it, or on the other side that I as a three year old can voice that I don’t like something, and that that will be respected. So it starts really young. it progresses through the years as we, you know, get into eight 910 year olds. At that stage, you’re teaching your kids about the basics of sexual reproduction, because if you’re not, they’re going to learn it from somewhere else, I guarantee you and you’re not gonna like where they learn it from. You know, as they get into teenager you’re talking about dating safety. You’re really hammering hard on the topics like consent, and not not just getting a verbal Yes, but recognizing people’s body language and respecting when they say no and honoring the boundaries that they set. So, it’s a progressive discussion around sexual health from that young age.

Eric Stopper 12:23

And you’ve had lots and lots of people come through this program and lots of folks have been educated and you’ve got all these stories and some statistics and probably some self reporting kind of questionnaires to help understand these things. So, is there a single like statistical predictor of, you know, if if this thing in my home happens like a divorce or loss of job or a certain amount of kids, is there a predictor that can help me understand like that I am at a higher risk of having sexual abuse happen in my household.

Chris Yadon 13:00

There’s not a single one, but there’s a few biggies. Any children with special needs are three times more likely to be sexually abused than a child without special needs. So keep that in mind for parents with special needs. children that are put in the care of others outside of their immediate parents. And the more often they’re put in that care, they’re at higher risk. That’s something to be aware of children that struggle with self worth, they are at higher risk because those that perpetrate tend to prey on those that are struggling with self worth. So there’s several biggies like this, and we could probably go through a few more. But those those are predictors, but what I’d say about sexual abuse is it’s brat broad enough and rampid enough, that there’s not any single indicator that says You know, it’s not an equation that if my child has this picture, then this is gonna happen. It’s just a problem. Yeah. Okay.

Eric Stopper 14:10

The whole self worth idea is a whole discussion and topic and world unto itself. I’m a parent, right? Give me Give it to me straight, how is it ? What are some of the things that I can do to instill that self worth in my kids starting at this young age?

Chris Yadon 14:28

Yeah. So the biggie is give your children a voice. Right? And this is a hard balance for us as parents, I have six kids myself. And so I’ve been through this at all. And it’s really hard to do because you’re balancing. Hey, I’m teaching them discipline and respect by giving them a voice right? And sometimes not sometimes, often, those two things start butting heads, and you have to make choices. But at the end of the day, there’s no one amount of discipline slash correction that is worth squashing the voice out of your child. A child that doesn’t have a voice does not have self worth. Right? If they can’t stand on their own two feet and say, This is what I feel, this is what I’m experiencing. This is what I think and have that be respected in their own home. The chances that they will be able to have that outside of their home are really, really small. Sure, that makes sense. So we’ve got to help our children build their voice. And this is why this matters so much. A big part of reduction of risk is about getting our kids to talk to us early. Right before the severe abuse happens. There’s going to be things that are going on in most cases that are off and if our children don’t feel like they can talk to us as parents If they don’t feel like they have a voice, the chances of them saying, hey, this kid brought up this word to me today. What does that mean? If we can’t take that and say, Whoa, that’s an interesting interaction, I need to intervene. What happens is that it goes under silence and if that kid’s trying to perpetrate, it just progresses and progresses and progresses, until he actually acts out. And, but if we can give our children a voice, it gives us an opportunity to catch it early enough that we can intervene and put protections in place to help keep our kids safe.

Eric Stopper 16:38

Fascinating, I mean, I think we do a pretty good job in our household and, and the thing that I would encourage everyone who’s listening to consider right is if you’ve got families, you know what I mean? You’ve got you’ve got nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters and all this stuff, like, take this seriously, right? Like go and have a conversation with your spouse. your significant other about these kinds of things and go look up the unique Foundation website, which we’ll put a link in the description of this one so that everybody can get there really easily. So, Chris, talk to me about the broader community.

Chris Yadon 17:14

Right? What can I do? Yeah. So we always tell people, there’s three things anybody can do. In the broader community, we need people’s megaphone. And Eric, you’re a perfect example of this. Right now you have a megaphone, you’re using it, you’re giving us a chance to talk about the issue with your megaphone. So kudos to you. Thank you. You’re my hero today for this topic, right? So that everybody has their own megaphone. It may not be a podcast, it may be a social media channel. It may be of influence in my church community. It may be Hey, I’ve got influence in my place of employment. Everybody has a megaphone, and using that megaphone is really, really important using your influence. Hey guys, there’s an issue here we should pay attention to is really important. So that’s always a big one. Okay? Second one. We always need volunteers. Every nonprofit does we do that’s no different. And volunteerism gets people engaged in a cause. When you mean, you’re a perfect example. I’m going to keep picking.

Chris Yadon 18:25

Yeah, that’s where it started was just like Arnie gets it started doing a volunteer project, right? When we get our hands dirty as humans and we start creating things, we naturally perk our interests. And so all good causes have great volunteers behind them. And then the third, you know, whether it’s us or some other group in our industry, nonprofits need funding. And the reality behind that funding is, I don’t care if you can only give $1 a month, give $1 a month, if you can give more, give more, but just do what you can do. Whatever For you, every dollar adds up and makes a difference. So those are the three things that we need in the broader community. We need your megaphone. We need your volunteerism, and we need funding. And it’s it’s a straightforward is that

Eric Stopper 19:14

Is it pretty easy to donate? Have you made it stupid, simple, can I text donate 233111 and it will just take $1 from my Venmo account as it were

Chris Yadon 19:25

not quite that easy. I mean, we do require you to go on our website, but it’s pretty simple. So a simple ecommerce transaction that everybody on your podcast is going to be used to.

Eric Stopper 19:35

Okay. And in terms of how the Younique Foundation has been able to kind of symbiotically grow itself. There’s, there’s a business, the unique makeup company, right, that has been kind of fueling this growth. Can you tell me a little bit about that dichotomy?

Chris Yadon 19:54

Yeah, so the Maxfields back to their store at the beginning. They started Another for profit company with the goal that that company, one piece of its mission, was going to be to help fund the Younique Foundation. They’ve done that in a big way in our first five years, we wouldn’t be where we’re at today without it. But the crazy thing that’s going on is the need is so great, Eric, in this growing so fast as people are becoming aware of it, that our demand is even outpacing their amazing contribution. they’ve contributed more, more than $20 million over the last five years, and just a huge sum of money.

And yet, we still have more demand than we have the capacity to meet. And so they’ll continue to do great things. They’re a great partner of ours, we’re really grateful for them. But at this point, it’s them plus the rest of the world, right to tackle this issue.

Eric Stopper 20:57

Right. I was reading some stats online. That’s 79% of companies reported increased donor participation rates and 73% raised more money. 5 billion is the approximation of how much money is raised through workplace giving annually. And that more than 49% of nonprofit respondents to these to the surveys identified workplace giving as a growth strategy for their organization. And so this is not just, you know, we’re thinking strategy here trying to spin it for our for our listeners, this is not just like out of the goodness of your heart like, it seems like if you have a charitable organization, that they’re that you’re if your organization is inherently charitable that you will just do better workplace satisfaction seems to go up. Have you guys seen that as well?

Chris Yadon 21:49

Yeah, so it’s Sheila MacGillivray, I love a quote from her that I think encapsulates this. She said, cause marketing is Doing good and doing good business at the same time. Doing good and doing good business at the same time. There’s there’s market forces that are demanding social good and social impact from corporations, just to give you one other stat are along those lines. And study down I believe was around five years ago showed that and those that were graduating college, it was 70, I believe is 79, or somewhere between 75 and 79% of them, expected their workplace to be evolved involved in social giving, compared to their parents, which were in the 50s meaning 50% so a significant change culturally is happening with the rising generation that’s entering the workforce, to where it’s not just a nice thing. It’s It’s It’s to the point that it’s an expectation of our staff or employees. Boys are customers that were involved in social good, but outside of the cause marketing, there’s nothing human beings gravitate more to than something bigger than themselves. And when you can give your employee or a customer an opportunity to attach to something bigger than yourself, right, bigger than the bottom line, it always brings about good results. And the side benefit is the bottom line typically goes up. And, you know, but that what what what’s problematic is when we do it when we make it a PR stunt when we make it a marketing stunt, increase the bottom line, it doesn’t work. No, it doesn’t work, consumers, especially today’s consumers are so savvy, they see right through it. So it has to be genuine, we have to do it for the right reasons. And we have to allow for the side benefit of increasing our bottom line, be a side benefit as opposed to For the driver behind why we do it

Eric Stopper 24:02

Well with this as a backdrop right I’m, I’m, I’m thinking about all the business owners that listen to this going okay, so what do I do? Right? What? What are some of the critical steps that I can take to kind of be this benevolent super company that all these great employees entering the workforce want to work for? And so talk us through this right what is what is the boardroom of everybody listening? What’s the conversation? How should they bring it up to everybody? Hey, guys, we need to do this.

Chris Yadon 24:32

Yeah, though. I would say the secret sauce, the magic word. Behind your question is the word match. Historically, what corporations have done in their giving is they’ve just said, Hey, we’ll write a check. You know, XYZ or Acme corporate corporation is going to write a check. That doesn’t work really well, right? Or CEO is going to write a check. That doesn’t work really well. What does work Well, our matching programs. So I’ll just give you a couple of examples. We had a major corporation in our area, Adobe do a volunteer day for us. And for every hour their employees volunteered. Corporate matched with a financial contribution, huh, really cool, right?

And then you’ll see other matching programs like, hey, every time a customer rounds up to the nearest dollar, on their ecommerce transaction,

corporations are gonna match that same amount that pocket change, right? So the key word is match. Get your customers involved. Get your employees involved in the corporate strategy as a matching strategy. Don’t do it on your own. Don’t do it in a box. Don’t do it in the boardroom only don’t isolate yourself. The key is do it with your customers and do it With your employees.

Eric Stopper 26:03

Yeah, I think that’s perfect. And we’ve, we’ve made that deliberate effort here. I hope that it’s increasing our bottom line and our workplace satisfaction as we would expect to because that wasn’t the focus. From what I understand, you know what I mean? So, this has all been kind of there’s some high points, and there’s some low points, the discussion, the conversation, and the topic, in general is pretty bleak. Just because, right, we haven’t hit the tipping point, and it’s a huge issue that affects like 25% of everybody and really 100% of everybody. So can you give me a success story? Just happy, hey, like, we were able to make this impact in this person’s life and they reported this to us that can really help empower and encourage those that are listening.

Chris Yadon 26:54

Yeah, I hope you’ll allow me to share to police work. So the first one to share with you is a lady named Martha. We were on one of our participants and some of our staff were on a major show called The doctors. And Martha’s parents were watching the show the doctors. And as they’re watching this show, and learning about our services, their daughter who had been sexually abused was really struggling. So they said, Hey, Martha, maybe take a look at this program. Martha had already written her suicide note. She already had her plan of how he she was going to conduct suicide. But she went to her parents and said, I’ll give this program one less. This will be my last shot my last try. And she decided, as she went through that program, that there was hope for her that there was healing, that she had a community that cared about her. And within the couple days of her returning home, she Upper suicide No, that’s impact. Right? And, and, you know, you put the stats behind that child sexual abuse survivors are five times more likely to attempt suicide. So you think, Hey, can we help people rip up a few more suicide notes? Right? That’s impact. So when we’re talking about the healing side of what we do, that’s impact. Here’s one on the prevention side. I love Paige’s story. That was a heist in high school, doing the typical High School thing that we all did. She was at a football game. You got this lifelong friend, a boy says, hey, let’s go grab some food. She said, Sure. Let’s go grab some food. They went and grabbed some food. And as they’re pulling out the drive thru, the boy said to Paige, Hey, I’ll give you your food once you make out with me. And she’s like, no, not gonna do that right back to consent. Got it. We got a consent issue here. And he proceeds to drive behind the school and attempts to assault her. And pages parents had done some education work with Paige and had even brought Paige to a community class where content was taught. And Paige says herself that she remembered what was taught in that moment and was able to fight back and she had texted one of her other friends say I need help come and give me and that friend that that friend of bystander intervention page knocked it out of the park. Yeah, now if this a boy had assaulted page, don’t get me wrong, it still wouldn’t be pages fault. But the fact that parent pages parents were empowered with education, and they empowered page with some education stopped one more sexual assault. That could have gone really, really badly. Don’t get me wrong, this was still very good. difficult for Paige. And I don’t want to minimize that. But the fact that she was able to use her voice back to what we talked about with your voice, and actually change her story in real time is really powerful.

Eric Stopper 30:18

Right? Can you imagine if I had gone the other way, man, what a tragedy that would have been. Chris, this has been exceptionally educational. I hope that our listeners have enjoyed and will and will make a change or continue doing the good things that they’re already doing in their life. What is the best way for people to get in touch with the foundation and to get involved? What do I send them

Chris Yadon 30:42

to websites? You mentioned both of these so spelled while That’s where all our focus is on our healing services, then defend so defend And then That’s where all our parent tools are around prevention and education. So those are the two places to go. They’re both very, very helpful websites. There’s more content on there than you’ll probably ever want to consume. But you’re going to find the right content, hopefully, that meets your needs, whatever those needs are.

Eric Stopper 31:23
Amazing, guys, as a, whether you’re a client of ours or not, you’re just listening kind of in the background. You’re an e-commerce person. You’re driving the world forward. Let’s, uh, let’s help some people rip up some more suicide notes. Chris, thank you so much for coming on the show.

Chris Yadon 31:41
Thanks, Eric. Appreciate it.

Outro 31:43
Thanks for listening to the Buy Box Experts podcast, be sure to click subscribe, check us out on the web, and we’ll see you next time.