Anti-Domestic Violence Fail

[Trigger warning.]

From the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence comes this truly failful pair of posters intended to raise men's awareness about and discourage domestic violence.

Images are below: On the left, is an image of a punching bag wearing a green dress. On the right, is an image of a side of beef wearing a black top and jeans skirt. Below each image is the text: "It's not acceptable to treat a woman like one. Most men agree, but few speak out. Please, be heard. A man's voice is an effective way to change demeaning societal attitudes towards women."

[Click images to embiggen.]

Okay, so, the concept of encouraging men to be part of the solution is great (and an idea I heartily support). But the imagery here is deeply problematic.

One of the things any advocate for survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence knows is that putting a face on abuse is an important part of awareness-raising. Here, we get precisely the opposite—and the victims of domestic violence are not only faceless, but totally dehumanized, recast as, respectively, a punching bag in a dress and a piece of meat in a dress. Worse yet, they are disembodied, legless, limbless torsos, suggestive of violence against women. Good grief.

The images are then immediately followed by the confusing line: "It's not acceptable to treat a woman like one." I had the same reaction as Copyranter (who gets the hat tip): "What a clunky headline: 'It's not acceptable to treat a woman like one.' Like what? A woman?" Fail.

Maybe for their next campaign, the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence should make sure there's at least one woman on the creative team.

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