Sigh. So here I am writing yet another blog post about the sexism we see in everyday advertising. Where women are protected and men left to fend for themselves, cos they’re men and can right? Who cares about them being domestically abused, they can just punch back cos they’re men of course! Don’t punch too hard though, because that’s violence against women, and you will be arrested.
It’s far too common place in the world we live in today to see an advert such as BMF’s latest addition to my roster. “Violence against women doesn’t just start. It Grows” campaign. Now as always, I’m not saying these adverts shouldn’t be made, I’m just saying they should be made to be more balanced and equally representative of both genders. As domestic violence is a problem that haunts both genders.
According to Living Without Abuse, a domestic abuse charity, domestic violence will affect 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 6 men. If we do some quite simple maths, we can work out a good estimate of the number of men adverts like this choose to ignore. Stats from the 2011 UK census shows that there were 31 million men and 32.2 million women in our country. One in four of those women, so that’s 8.05 million women who will be victim to domestic abuse in their life time. On the flipside we see one in six men, so 5.66 million men being victim to domestic abuse. Yet with every single campaign or crisis center or help desk and even in public opinion, we are seeing men ignored. As if their problems with domestic abuse don’t even matter, and that they don’t need help. This is abhorrent.
And its scary that this isn’t only mainstream media that has these ideas. You see letters and blogs calling for more help for women who are victims of domestic abuse. These are the opinions of every day people like you and I, except they’ve been badly informed. They’re taught that the only kind of domestic violence is a man beating up a woman in some scenario. That’s not the case, and is hugely damaging to both male and female victims of abuse. A lot of men are going through domestic abuse right now, and are totally unaware its domestic abuse, because in their minds, men can’t be abused by women. The men who do know, are often too afraid or embarrassed to come forwards, for a multitude of reasons. Ranging from trying to protect the welfare of their children, skepticism from police or authorities and even just plain denial that they’re being abused. Adverts like this one do not help, they only make those anxieties more pronounced, because their issues are not being taken seriously or addressed in the slightest.
I urge all creatives and agencies, any one who is going to be involved with media that is going to deal with serious subjects such as domestic abuse and violence. Please, lets leave gender at the door, it’s not the important part of the story. There are two people, one person is being abused by the other person; how can we address and stop this? Certainly not by framing it in a way that only shows one gender as a victim and one as an abuser.
Since we’re not at a place where we can talk freely about domestic abuse; without clouding it with genders and bias – if there are any males out there reading this who believe they may be being abused, please contact the authorities, and get some help. You can click here for a short information guide on what to do if you think you’re being abused as a male. You’re worth more than you know.