“Because home has never been so important”

We’ve all struggled this year, there’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has brought unforeseen challenges for all. We’ve all very literally been sent to our rooms. Doors have been closed all around us. And for some  being shut in can be a scarier thought than for most.

In the UK we have a less talked about Pandemic occurring within a very publicised one. Domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdowns has increased in terrifying figures this year. The UK’s largest domestic abuse charity, Refuge, reported a 700% increase in calls to its helpline in just a single day. 

Its dangerous to be stuck at home.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And we at bbd are challenging ourselves with having  the conversation; bearing witness to those potentially suffering in silence. This will not be an easy read for anyone, and the below figures may shock you. But it’s harder for those living it. The least we can do is educate ourselves, and support where possible, whilst trying to understand.

  • Domestic abuse will affect 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men in their lifetime. And it leads to, on average, two women being murdered each week. 
  • Domestic violence has more repeat victims than any other crime and on average there will be a staggering 35 assaults on a person before the victim calls the police.
  • It is the single most quoted reason for becoming homeless (ahead of drug and alcohol abuse)
  • And approximately 400 people commit suicide each year who have attended hospital for domestic abuse injuries in the previous six months, 200 of these attend hospital on the day they go on to commit suicide
  • And it is worth remembering domestic violence affects millions, both women and men, of every race, religion, culture and status.

How we have taken action.

We at bbd (supported by a bbd donation which will be made to the several charities included) have run a creative project across the office to create some conversation starters. 

It’s a tough brief and whilst we may not all have experience with it, that is the exact reason we have to address it – we simply cannot leave it only to those who face it alone at home. and are systematically silenced.

Here’s the results:

Liam – Part of the everyday.

For the victims of Domestic violence everyday is a nightmare, it can be a daily occurrence – as common in the house as everyday household objects – as it becomes a regular part of their life and day-to-day. This idea brings that to life by giving recognisable household names a more sinister edge.

Gav – Care to share the secret of your relationship?

Abusers and their victims are often in a seemingly loving and happy relationship. The abusive behaviour is often either ignored, played down or forgiven. This is particularly true for male victims, who often feel a sense of shame or inadequacy. I wanted to create a visual to reflect this uneasy juxtaposition of emotions. At first glance it’s happy, fun and positive – but there’s an arrestingly sinister side that should be impossible to ignore.

Sarah – He’s not all bad…

This idea came directly from conversations I’ve had with friends. It sums up the central dilemma of many abusive relationships…that it’s not all bad…or that it’s not bad all of the time.
I deliberately chose imagery that looks cosy on first glance. In my experience, many partners suffer emotional abuse in the context of a ‘loving’ relationship. They don’t feel entitled to ask for help as it’s not necessarily physical violence. Some people don’t even recognise what’s happening to them as abuse. They think negative behaviour and being upset is a normal part of any relationship.
With this ad, I wanted to say it’s ok to love your partner yet still ask for help.

Olly – Not all masks are visible.

With masks now being the new normal, for some it’s been an everyday occurrence for a while. Everyday victims of domestic abuse or violence put on face that doesn’t reflect the truth behind their environment or experiences at home. Unfortunately now it’s even harder for people to spot or show signs for help as most are working from home. This visual brings a strong message of the mask now acting as another barrier for the victims that need help the most and brings awareness that masks aren’t always visible.

Josie – You bruise like a peach.

I’ve heard in the past people tell me I bruise too easily and that I should ‘be careful as it’ll look like it’s abuse’. Well there are plenty of people out there facing real bruises, and hiding them or continuously returning to their abuser. It hurt me to hear that it takes 35 assaults before action is taken – we need to start spotting/supporting people sooner.

Aidan – What’s in your Covid calendar?

I just feel that everyone has the right to be treated with respect, there is no room for bullying in any form whether that be domestic abuse, child abuse etc. In a world where it is easy to turn a blind eye and pretend not to notice it is sometimes not enough to simply be against abuse but what is needed is to also act against abuse so something like this promoting the conversation is great to get involved in.

Liam – Silent Symptom.

Described as a ‘shadow pandemic’ alongside Covid-19, cases of domestic violence have increased by more than 20% during lockdown with victims unable to escape their perpetrators. This is a grevious symptom of the pandemic that whilst being talked about in the media, is still suffered in silence from the victims to afraid to speak out about abuse they are facing in the home.

Gav – Abuse isn’t always easy to see.

As a father, I am very conscious of wanting my kids to grow up with warm, happy memories of a loving childhood. But the truth is that for some households, the reality is very different from the ‘happy family’ they might portray to the outside world. With this execution I wanted to dramatise the fact that domestic abuse leaves a permanent scar on all those affected – but in a subtle and thought-provoking way.

Abuse is abuse.

It’s not just punches and black eyes – it’s yelling, humiliation, stalking, manipulation, coercion, threats and isolation. It’s stealing a pay-check, keeping tabs online, non-stop texting, constant use the silent treatment, or calling someone stupid so often they believe it.

Whilst we may not have had experience with it – we simply cannot leave it only to those who face abuse alone at home. They are being systematically silenced.

Please support in any way you can; by donating, speaking for the vulnerable, and making sure everyone knows that they are not alone.