Keira Knightley stars in a PSA about Domestic Violence

4 04 2009

OK, so I may or may not be secretly in love with Keira, which makes it hard for me to hate this Public Service Announcement. Warning: this video can be triggering; it is a bit graphic.

I don’t have a problem that there is a PSA out there to try to speak out against domestic violence. It’s great that Keira signed up for this. However, I have always believed that the intentions behind something only goes far; what counts just as much, if not more…or a lot more, is what message is ACTUALLY sent out or the effects it  had.

Honestly, this PSA did not portray what DV is like at ALL. It is not some faceless guy beating up some beautiful actress on a set. It is someone that is very close to the victim; they know who the abuser is. The abuser’s face is very clear.  I honestly think the set up is kind of confusing; I probably would have doubted whether the ad was about domestic violence if the link didnt say it was.

That ties into another point that upsetted me. The main part that is very clear is Keira getting beaten. It’s shocking and unexpected and hard to watch. They’re sensationalizing another woman’s pain to try to promote a cause! The paradox makes my head want to explode. Watching 30 seconds of a woman being beat up with a short disclaimer at the end that is basically like, “p.s. don’t do this at home” just makes me think that it cant be effective.

The PSA is done by Women’s Aid, which “is the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children,” according to their site. I don’t think that this PSA could be helpful to women currently in abusive relationships. It seems to concentrate on shocking the people who are not familiar with domestic violence and asking them to donate two pounds a month.  I think instead of merely perpetuating normalization of violence against women in the media, the ad could have done more to perhaps reach out to the women currently being abused (I personally would not have felt encouraged to seek help by that ad, but probably would just want to hide).

I wish this short film was the center of the campaign by Women’s Aid. I think if they had something not based on shock value and violence to at least ACCOMPANY this ad, it would be more effective.



One response

5 04 2009

Everything you say here hits the nail completely on the head.

I think their aim is admirable, but I think the choice to spread the message with a shocking ending like that was a bit sensationalist, I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be effective. Except perhaps at gaining them subscriptions.

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