A confronting new domestic violence ad released over the weekend targets teenagers, and plays on the idea that violence, like a tattoo, is permanent.
Called ‘You can’t undo violence‘, it’s part of The Line campaign, a government initiative that encourages healthy and respectful relationships in young people.
The ad depicts a teenage boy assaulting his girlfriend at a train station, and his subsequent guilt and shame. With a heavy dose of symbolism to make your HSC English teacher get all tingly, the latter is represented by a tattoo he can’t scrub off, and at the end, it’s shown to read: “SHE PISSED ME OFF SO I HIT HER.”
Watch it here:
The idea behind the campaign is to change the attitudes of Australians during their first relationship, says CEO of Our Watch (who launched the campaign) Paul Linossier, pointing to their research which found 1 in 4 young people aged 12 to 24 hold attitudes that put them at risk of perpetuating, excusing or tolerating violence against women.
“These young people are comfortable with coercive and disrespectful behaviours, are more likely to justify violence, and believe that being masculine means exerting power and control over their partners.”
“For example, these young people are more likely to keep, post, share and distribute nude photos of their ex-partner after a break-up. 1 in 4 say they would show the photos to their mates, and 15% say they would send the photos to the girl’s parents.”
“One of the best chances we have to change these worrying attitudes is to engage young people when they are having their first relationships.”
The ad has had a mixed response; while plenty on Facebook have been calling it powerful, brilliant, etc, one person – herself a DV survivor – took issue with the focus on the abuser, and that she and other survivors had “never seen this kind of remorse.”
“My initial reaction was I didn’t like it as it seems to be trying to make people feel sorry for the abuser rather than the abusee… however I am not the ‘target’ audience – so I do hope that it achieves the goal you’ve set for it,” she wrote.
Domestic violence is never okay. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732. If you are in immediate danger, call 000. If you feel you have ‘crossed the line’, contact the Men’s Referral Service on 1300 766 491 for anonymous and confidential telephone counselling. And for young men and women concerned about their own behaviour, call 1800 MYLINE on 1800 695 463.