Stop, listen, ask – you could save a life

Written by: Paul Morris

November 26, 2014 - 8:03 am
Categories: Communication , Community Safety , Engagement , Film

Stop, listen and ask – you could save a life.

Two women every week are killed by their partner or ex-partner in Britain; a frightening and shameful statistic.

It isn’t just women who experience domestic abuse, men are sometimes victims too, but around 75% of reports are from women.

Up and down the land, there are people who are being mentally, emotionally, financially and/or physically abused by someone they share their life with; by someone who claims to love them.

And their lifestyle, wealth, profession, social status, sexual orientation or education is irrelevant. There isn’t one type of person who is victim, there isn’t one type of person who suffers, and there isn’t one type of person who dies. It can happen, and does happen to people from all backgrounds.

There is help and support available; however coaxing people to get it is something else.

We have been working with Leicester City Council on a campaign to tackle domestic and sexual violence. Called ‘How Many Times?’ the main objective of it is to get people reporting, and not just victims.

Our research shows that over three quarters of people who experience domestic violence will confide in someone they trust before they report to authorities. The definition of ‘someone they trust’ is wide. It could be a close friend or sibling, a workmate or boss, a faith leader or community figure.

So the campaign must reach out to all of these:

  • It speaks to confidantes as a distinct audience via film and social media and asks people whether they can spot the signs that someone is being abused.
  • It builds resilience in the community via a network of trusted community champions, like faith leaders, community figureheads and local leaders, who are trained in domestic and sexual violence and create a lasting legacy.
  • It speaks directly to victims and asks them ‘how many times’ before they tell someone and get the support they need?

One of the centrepieces of our campaign is a film with two endings, because taking action can change people’s lives.

The film is Aanya’s recollection of Michelle and their friendship which lasts into adulthood; and how Michelle – a strong, talented and outgoing woman, is changed by the abuse she suffers from the man in her life.

Aanya laments on missed opportunities. One version ends badly, the other ends hopefully. We hope it strikes a chord. Aanya’s regret is she doesn’t stop to question or act upon her doubts.

You can see the film and learn more about the campaign at www.leicester.gov.uk/howmanytimes and on Twitter @_HowManyTimes

 


Our thanks go to Almeida Coffee & Juice Co, Guildhall Lane, Leicester for allowing us to shoot in their cafe, Animal Tracks Productions atproductions.tv for producing the film, and professional actor Nita Mistry for lending her support to the campaign as lead in this film.

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