Communications: Amnesty tackles domesticviolence

Amnesty International UK is to screen anti-domestic violence films in public spaces for the first time next month in a bid to counter male complacency towards violence against women.

Four one-minute films will be shown in special booths at Bluewater shopping centre during the first week of February. Amnesty staff will encourage shoppers to watch the films, and will also give out leaflets on how to combat violence and direct people to the campaign microsite titled problemwhatproblem.com.

The charity has targeted the films at young adult males after they displayed a huge reticence to talk about domestic violence during its focus groups.

The first three films show a father, an employer and a neighbour each dismissing as normal behaviour the physical or psychological violence they have witnessed against women. The last story shows a pregnant woman struggling to speak out about her abuse because she feels inhibited by a society that rarely discusses the problem.

The films carry the 'Problem? What problem?' strapline to highlight complacency about violence against women in the UK. Amnesty featured the strap on its posters on London Underground sites last November, which showed a bruised woman in mock advertisements for a new range of make-up for "bruising relationships".

Jennifer Campbell, campaign manager for Amnesty's Stop Violence Against Women, said that focus groups had found that young men had a huge reluctance to talk about the issue. "They rejected fundamentally our statistics that one in four women in the UK experience domestic violence during their lives," she said.

"They were inclined to disbelieve the existence of high levels of domestic violence and wondered how on earth they could help prevent it. With that level of rejection we have to get them to accept the problem exists before we can think about how they might help to solve it."

Amnesty plans to show the films in sports stadiums and railway stations if pilot screenings are successful.

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