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Socially Irresponsible Advertising Condemned

Families Apart Require Equality (FARE) spokesperson Darryl Ward today condemned the series of advertisements currently being broadcast in support of the Women's Refuge Campaign as being "hate promoting and seriously socially irresponsible", and called for their immediate withdrawal.

The full text of his complaint to the Advertising Standards Complaint Board is transcribed below.

Contact Details - Darryl Ward 025 230 1667

Media Release Ends

Letter Begins

24 July 2001

Dear Sir / Madam

Urgent Formal Complaint about Advertisements

This letter is a formal complaint about the Women's Refuge Appeal advertisements that are currently being broadcast on television. Although this is not the normal procedure, we would request that whatever steps are possible be taken to immediately stop this advertising campaign on the grounds that this campaign is hate-promoting as well as seriously socially irresponsible.

As an organisation that routinely deals with the victims of family law, we have a major social problem with many male victims of family violence coming to us in desperation because they are unable to obtain official help. This is because of a mistaken belief by the authorities that violence is exclusively a male problem and a resultant tendency to dismiss cases of female initiated violence, even though the evidence is overwhelming that both genders are approximately equally likely to be violent towards each other.

Advertisements such as those in the series we are complaining about add to this climate of misinformation. We strongly contend that unless family violence is recognised as being the two way street that it is, then this blight on our society will never be removed.

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Accordingly we would request that the Board urgently requests immediate withdrawal of these advertisements. Urgency is requested, as we understand that these advertisements are being shown for a short period of time, but with an intensive frequency of screenings.

These advertisements urge a donation to the Refuge, and give an 0900 number that would result in an automatic donation. I have listed two examples of these advertisements that were broadcast on Monday 23 July 2001. The first one screened at 8:59 PM on TV1, and featured a woman with blonde hair who had swollen eyes, cuts and bruises fade in and out with captions such as "lost the rugby" and "dinner was cold". It clearly implied that a husband or male partner was responsible for her injuries.

The second advertisement we saw was broadcast approximately half an hour later. It gave a warning similar to "the following advertisement shows violence etc... which should not be viewed by anybody". This was less implicit than the earlier advertisement, but again portrayed the message that men are violent to women. We have reports of other similar advertisements as well.

We consider that such advertisements are an unacceptable demonisation of men, which directly leads to a huge variety of social problems ranging from unequal treatment of men in the Family Court right through to lack of support for male victims of family violence. Therefore such advertisements are also directly contributing to fatherlessness and its consequences.

We would request that whatever steps are possible be taken immediately to withdraw these seriously socially irresponsible and hate-promoting advertisements from being broadcast any further pending an investigation by the Board into this complaint.

Yours sincerely

Darryl Ward Spokesperson

Letter Ends


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