For decades, Public Service Announcements (PSAs) have been used by government agencies, charities/nonprofits, and advocacy groups to encourage people to raise awareness about a number of social issues like drugs, alcohol abuse, education, etc. PSAs went from strength to strength as the variety of media channels advanced from print and radio ads in the early days to the invention of television.
Today, with a significant chunk of the world connected – and connecting – through the internet, PSAs have now taken on a completely new role. PSAs, along with the social media phenomenon of ‘viral videos’, have been breaking new ground in all fields, especially when it comes to raising awareness and educating the public about violence against women (VAW). With YouTube being the second most popular and second largest search engine in the world after Google, video-based social media communities have become a vibrant breeding ground for more and more creative expressions to encourage the conversation around VAW.
This year, as a part of The Pixel Project’s ’16 for 16’ campaign, we have selected 16 of the most innovative PSAs addressing various facets of VAW from across the world. While they may be produced in different areas of the globe, these videos have universal appeal and have reached out to millions of people across country or continental boundaries.
Here is our list – we hope it helps spark much-needed conversation about VAW in your families and communities.
It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.
Written and compiled by Rubina Singh. Additional PSA selections by Regina Yau.
Call To Action: Help us reach the $25,000 fundraising milestone for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign this holiday season by giving generously to our “16 For 16” fundraiser (which also includes #GivingTuesday)! Find out more and donate to get awesome book and music goodies at http://is.gd/16DaysGT2015
PSA Selection #1: End Violence Against Women Arab Region PSA – UN Women, Global
[TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains footage that may be disturbing for VAW survivors] This video is part of a series of three PSAs by UN women addressing VAW in the Arab region. This particular video addresses the issue of VAW in conflict zones and has been produced in English, French and Arabic. The other two videos can be viewed here and here:
PSA Selection #2: Ending Violence against Women – Bangkok Mass Transit Authority and UN Women’s Regional Office for Asia, Thailand
Produced by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority in collaboration with UN Women, this PSA showcases the extent of VAW around the world and urges commuters to support the local “Love Without Violence” campaign. The video was broadcast on public buses in Bangkok to encourage people to speak up and report cases of VAW.
PSA Selection #3: How To Be More Than A Bystander – The Ending Violence Association of BC, Canada
This PSA, which shows viewers how to take action to stop the harassment of women, is part of a series of PSAs developed by the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia, Canada. The videos were shown during major sporting events in British Columbia. The entire series can be viewed on YouTube here.
PSA Selection #4: “Isn’t It Time Someone Called CUT!” – Women’s Aid, United Kingdom
[TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains scenes that may be distressing for domestic violence survivors] This PSA by Women’s Aid UK features movie star Keira Knightley being abused by her partner and eventually pans back to that the scene is happening at a film set, but the only people there are Keira and her partner. When this PSA by Women’s Aid UK made its debut on cinema screens as part of the preview run before the movies begun as well as on YouTube, it created an uproar and sparked plenty of conversation due to its explicit depiction of domestic violence.
PSA Selection #5: It’s Your Fault – All India Bakchod, India
This PSA by a group of comedians in India called the All India Bakchod (AIB) talks about a number of common commentaries that survivors of VAW are subjected to, not just in India but across the world. As a sarcastic take on victim blaming, it definitely drives the point home.
PSA Selection #6: ‘Le Film Choc’ – Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes (FNSF), France
[TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains scenes of sexual assault and domestic violence that may be distressing to some survivors] Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes, a women’s rights coalition in France which campaigns to end domestic violence through awareness and education (including training employers healthcare professionals, social workers, psychologists and other professionals likely to come in contact with abused women), made this stark video showing domestic abuse and sexual assault in a number of different contexts, including in same-sex relationships.
PSA Selection #7: ‘Let’s End Violence Against Women’ – UN Women, Global
London-based advertising agency Leo Burnett produced this public service announcement (PSA) for UN Women. The video uses a series of striking images to show how violence against women is one of the most common forms of violence in the world.
PSA Selection #8: ‘Monsters in the Closet’ – Domestic Violence from a child’s view’ – the Verizon Foundation and National Domestic Violence Hotline, USA
This powerful animated PSA talks about how domestic violence impacts women and children. Narrated by a child, the video depicts the cycle of violence and the drastic effects of witnessing domestic violence as a child.
PSA Selection #9:‘Slap Her’ – Fanpage.it, Italy
This controversial viral video shows how young boys react to VAW. The boys are asked to slap a young girl in front of them and every single one of them refused to do so, stating that abusing a girl is wrong.
PSA Selection #10: ‘Stairs’ – Bundesverband Frauenberatungsstellen und Frauennotrufe (BFF), Germany
[TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains scenes that may be disturbing to survivors of domestic violence] Made by BFF, a coalition of more than 160 women’s counselling centres and rape crisis centres in Germany, this video shows women ‘falling down stairs’, an excuse commonly used by domestic violence victims when asked about their bruises and injuries by people outside the family or marriage. The video urges the people to pay attention and to take action to help stop the violence.
PSA Selection #11: Teenage Rape Prevention Advert – The UK Home Office, United Kingdom
[TRIGGER WARNING: This video contains scenes that may be disturbing to survivors of rape and sexual assault] According to the UK’s Home Office, Research shows that many young people suffer from rape and serious sexual assault in their relationships. So the Home Office made this video to target teenagers to help them understand rape and sexual assault in the context of their relationships, and does so by highlighting the importance of consent in sexual relationships.
PSA Selection #12: The”Bell Bajao” series – Breakthrough India, India
These PSAs are part of a series of videos which highlights the creative ways that men and boys who are bystanders can take to intervene in situations of domestic abuse. ‘Bell Bajao’ or ‘Ring the Bell’ encourages viewers to intervene in a safe way to let the abuser know that their behavior is unacceptable. Check out the rest of the “Bell Bajao” series via this YouTube playlist.
PSA Selection #13: The Johannesburg Drums Experiment – POWA, South Africa
Check out this very creative PSA by POWA (People Opposing Women Abuse) which shows how neighbours typically intervene in any situation in their neighbourhood other than domestic violence situations. The silence is deafening.
PSA Selection #14: The NO MORE campaign’s “Speechless” PSA series – The Joyful Heart Foundation, USA
This video is part of a series of PSAs by the No More campaign by actress Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart Foundation.It features the Law & Order: SVU cast and a number of celebrities urging people to start a conversation about VAW and to take action to stop it in their homes and communities. Check out the rest of the series via this YouTube playlist.
PSA Selection #15: ‘Who Are You’ – The ‘Who Are You’ Coalition, New Zealand
[TRIGGER WARNING: The video contains scenes that may be disturbing for survivors of rape and sexual assault] ‘Who Are You?’ is a free toolkit that uses group exercises and a short film to educate young people about the prevention of sexual violence and ethical sexual decision making. This powerful video is a little longer than the standard anti-VAW PSA, aiming to thoroughly address the important role that bystanders play in the prevention of sexual assault and rape.
PSA Selection #16: ‘Who Will You Help’ – Ontario Government, Canada
This video from the Ontario government shows a series of scenarios where being an active bystander can prevent VAW. It encourages viewers to take action in situations of violence and harassment.