Is the Government's new domestic abuse ad too confronting?

TheLine: YouTube

If we said it had just been a horror year for domestic violence, then we’d be ignoring the years of abuse that women, men and children have suffered throughout history. But the fact of the matter is that it’s been much more in our eye line these last few months than it ever has been.

It’s become a societal issue that we can no longer sweep under the rug – every week two women are killed by domestic violence, and now campaigners are looking for a way to really get the message to sink in, especially to the younger generation.

Our Watch has launched a powerful ad campaign about the consequences of violent relationships which was released nationwide on Monday. It’s quite upsetting to watch.

The video follows a young boy who gets a tattoo and then gets it removed, interspersed with flashback of him fighting with his young girlfriend. He gets aggressive and hits her – the pain in her eyes really says it all.

“I know it won’t come off. I tried to say I’m sorry. Tried to hide it. But everyone knows”, says the voiceover, as an image of the teen’s shoulder reveals the tattoo that says “She pissed me off so I hit her”.

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The message of the ad? You can’t undo violence. Know where to draw the line.

According to Buzzfeed Australia, the confronting ad campaign is part of Australian Government initiative The Line, an online educational resource about gender, sexism, technology, and healthy relationships.

Worrying, a recent survey of over 3,000 young people showed one in six young people believe “women should know their place”, so it’s clear these messages need to get through, but is this the way to do it?

The ad has been criticised online for focusing on the perpetrator and the effect of his actions on his own reputation, rather than the victim’s suffering, reports Buzzfeed. Do you agree?

Our Watch CEO Paul Linossier said the ad had “a bit of an edge to it,” but was ultimately created to start a conversation.

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“We know that reputation is very important to young people,” he told BuzzFeed News. “It’s a way we can get them to sit up and pay attention. They’re in a stage of their life where relationships and intimate relationships are being explored and formed for the first time, and it’s a really important time to get young people to reflect on their attitudes and where they think they need to engage in change”.

“The purpose of this campaign is to stop the violence before it occurs, and I have enormous optimism that with the right guides and resources, that they can navigate the conversation and come out on the right side of the line”, Mr Linossier said.

The Line outlined the campaign response on their website and said “we tested this campaign concept with over 1,000 young Australians and their parents.

“Over two-thirds of young people and three-quarters of parents thought the campaign was effective, relevant, impactful, appropriate and thought-provoking.

“Young people took away the message that violence against women is wrong.

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“Many thought the campaign would encourage people to think about their behaviour.

They also encouraged parents (and grandparents) to use the campaign to talk to your kids about violence and respect via the Resources for parents page.

Take a look at the ad yourself and tell us, would you feel comfortable showing this to your grandchildren? Are scare tactics effective?