It is White Ribbon Day on November 25 – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. In Australia we are seeing two advertising campaigns designed to raise awareness in this area. The Australian government campaign tells the story of women who are victims of male violence, encouraging women to seek help. The UN campaign aims at men, challenging them to do something about male violence.
The United Nations 2005 ad features a couple eating their meal in their apartment as they listen to a man next door verbally abusing a woman. It becomes obvious that the abuse has become physical when the Van Gogh sunflower painting almost falls off the wall. The man picks up a baseball bat, walks into the corridor and knocks on the door. The door opens. “You might be needing this”, he says, handing it over to the abusive man. The chilling text: “Do nothing and you may as well lend a hand”.
The ad was created pro bono by Saatchi & Saatchi Australia, Sydney, with creative team including David Nobay, Kathy Mattick and Shannon Sutherland. Director was Tim Gibbs (director of UN Badmouth) with 8 Commercials TV producer Bill Doig and photographer Paul Blackmore.
Ray Lawrence of Sydney Film Company directed the 2004 UN ad in which a man takes a real estate on a tour of his home and coolly but menacingly throws in comments about his wife that reveal another side to the picture. The Saatchi & Saatchi Australia team included David Nobay, Noah Regan, Jason Mendes and producer Catherine Jarman. Actors were Peter Mochrie and Gabriella Maselli.
The Government campaign, “Violence Against Women, Australia Says No” is linked with a web site, www.australiasaysno.gov.au with information for young people, parents and community on identifying and avoiding abusive and violent relationships and where to find help. The web site includes campaign booklet and getting help information, in different languages.
In his launch of the White Ribbon Day campaign for 2005, Dr Michael Flood made five points. Here’s his opening paragraph…
“First, violence against women is at epidemic levels. Second, this violence has a profound and damaging impact on its victims and on the community as a whole. Third, its causes are well known. Fourth, men have a crucial role to play in ending this violence and encouraging non-violence and respect. Finally, men have a personal stake in ending violence against women.”