The annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children is about to kick off. And every year, it comes in for massive criticism in South Africa, a country beset with extraordinarily high levels of domestic violence, rape and child abuse. Critics believe campaigning against violence should be an all year round affair, and that government’s response to the issue is particularly poor. Other campaigns on gender violence, particularly the recent Marie Claire ‘Walk in her shoes’ ads have been roundly condemned for missing the point and even trivialising what so many women and children suffer.
This year, broadcasters e.tv, eNCA and OpenViewHD have launched a powerful public service advertising (PSA) campaign via UNITe – a social responsibility umbrella set up by them to contribute towards building a better South Africa through various initiatives.
“Abuse is an issue that all South African communities face on a daily basis. Horrific examples make the news on a regular basis and shock us, but there are many damaging heartbreaking stories that aren’t told, because abuse is something that thrives on us not talking about it. e.tv and eNCA felt the issue needed to be highlighted outside of the news cycle and decided to initiate the campaign. We wanted to highlight not only physical, but emotional and verbal abuse as well – as these forms of abuse often underpin the cycle of abuse,” says group head of corporate affairs, Vasili Vass.
“The UNITe campaign is scheduled to run for throughout November and December, highlighting the problem many South Afircans live with for 365 days of the year,” he says.
Vass said the creative concept of the ads were developed internally by creative director Brandon Heyburgh and corporate social responsibility officer, Mathari Makgatho, and produced by Celeste Saville. “They aimed to do something slightly different, from the outset, to illustrate how the cycle of abuse is perpetuated, and highlight the real long-term damage it does to one’s self-esteem by using voice juxtaposition to emotionally connect and drive the message home,” says Vass.
He said television is a powerful platform and that the channels “like to use it responsibly”.
“We produced not one, but two PSAs as part of this campaign and have dedicated valuable commercial airtime throughout our schedules to share and reiterate this important message on e.tv, eNCA and channels on the OpenView HD platform,” he says.
“The response thus far has been positive and we hope that it will get people talking about abuse, and speaking up. Our hope is to spark conversations, encourage people to report abuse, seek help and become aware of the long term results of their actions.”
What do you think of this campaign? #UniteAgainstAbuse
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