This can be a pretty depressing forum sometimes, with good reason: we need to be aware of the huge problems that are out there regarding sexual equality, sexual health etc. Occaisionally, however, something good does happen.
One thing we have a in Australia right now is government run campaign called Violence Against Women: Australia Says No. This campaign is aimed particularly at abuse that occurs within relationships or between acquaintences-- ie, the most common forms of abuse. The main way of getting the message out is through television ads, which are shown at both prime time AND non peak times. These ads feature narratives from the point of view of women who have been the victims of abuse, AND men who perpetrate abuse, making it very clear that behaviour that is often explained away as normal by both perpetrators and victims (anything from "giving a push" to rape) is actually a criminal form of abuse for which there is NEVER any excuse. They ads also make it clear that it is never the victim's fault.
It also encourages both victims and perpetrators to seek out counselling, beginning with their free confidential hotline, and lets victims know that they are able to report these abuses to the police. I really like the fact that these ads don't put the onus all on the victim to get out of the abusive situation, although it certainly aims to empower them to do so. It makes it pretty clear though that the abusers need to take responsibility for their own actions if this sort of thing is to stop.
There are a few little niggles that I have with the campaign (people featured in ads almost all caucasian, PM seems to think its more important for protecting families rather simply saying its to protect women), but overall, I think it's conveying an important message that will ultimately make it more acceptable socially for the victims of abuse to acknowledge what has happenned to them so that they can become survivors, while making abusive behaviour less acceptable.
Posts: 2710 | From: Australia | Registered: Jun 2000
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That's intriguing, Beppie - and it's a shame that media networks in the States don't do the same.
Lifetime, the "women's" channel, is having a "Stop the Violence" campaign this month, where they're featuring Angela Shelton's documentary. A woman named Angela Shelton, thinking of her own abuse, decided to do a documentary about other women named Angela Shelton in the US. She discovered that 28 out of 40 of the women she contacted had been sexually abused in some way.
Sadly, a lot of people conflate that sort of programming with "man-hating" feminism, so it's difficult for it to gain ground.
I think too that rigorously patriarchal attitudes contribute to these problems as well. If more men were viscerally aware of the damage caused by sexual abuse/domestic violence, then maybe we could get somewhere.
Posts: 455 | From: New York, NY | Registered: Apr 2005
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