Ending Violence Against Women with Cartoons

Star Wars
Human rights group Breakthrough launched a surprising new campaign tackling violence against women.   Advertisements featuring an animated scenario have been playing on TV sets across the U.S.  The short scene depicts men stopping other men from acting inappropriately towards women.   In one bit, a man stops another man from slapping a female vendor’s bottom as she walks by them.  The tag “#BeThatGuy.  Stop violence against women in its tracks” flashes across the screen. The ads were first tested at Miami Speedway last month, where they were extremely well received.

The videos are based off the idea that men are a part of the problem, but also a part of the solution.  The core idea is that men can use their male privilege to speak up for women where women may be unable to have a voice.

Breakthrough plans on running more ads both online and on TV that discourage gender-based violence.  Breakthrough organizer Ishita Srivastava says she believes in “meeting people where they are,” including at sporting events with high institutionalized gender bias.

The campaign is called “Ring the Bell,” and calls on men to hold each other accountable.  Breakthrough calls violence and discrimination against women and girls “unacceptable.”  The organization has centers in India and the U.S.  that specialize in using media, pop culture, art and community mobilization to encourage people to “live up to their full potential.”

Breakthrough has also launched campaigns against early marriage and sex-selective termination, and in favor of immigration rights, racial justice and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Stephanie Lamm

Sources: Breakthrough, WITNESS Blog, Aljazeera