Solace Women’s Aid, a London-based charity that offers support for women and children against male abuse and violence, is aiming to raise awareness around hidden abuse – and offer help to those it is happening to – through an innovative Twitter campaign.
Solace reveals that it takes, on average, six and a half years for a woman to leave an abusive relationship. Controlling and coercive behaviour; cutting people off from their friends and family; and making them feel afraid and belittled are all forms of domestic abuse. But because the violence is not obvious or “seen”, it can often be ignored and even normalised.
The charity’s #HiddenAbuse campaign, devised by Stack in collaboration with Solace Women’s Aid and Twitter, uses Twitter’s “hidden replies” control, a feature that provides people with the option to hide replies to their Tweets and manage their own conversations.)
To demonstrate the hidden story behind domestic abuse, Twitter users will see a Tweet from @SolaceWomensAid that will show a photo of a seemingly happy couple accompanied by the contrasting phrase: “This is what domestic abuse looks like.” Users will be challenged to find the hidden story, discovering the reality behind the picture by clicking into the Tweet and on the “hidden replies” button.
The feature will then reveal a video that plays out the controlling and abusive conversation between the couple, revealing a very different story to the happy selfie. Anyone who views the film is then encouraged to share the revealing journey with their followers.
Stack business development director Jane Jutsum said:“Just because domestic abuse doesn’t always result in physical injuries that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Hidden abuse can take many forms, from controlling somebody’s actions, to alienating someone from their family and friends, to creating an environment of fear and suffering. But some people don’t realise hidden abuse is actually a type of domestic abuse. We believe every woman has the right to a life free from abuse and violence.
“A pattern of emotional abuse and controlling behaviours is at the heart of domestic abuse and the effects can be far reaching and extremely traumatic. We also know, from working with 1000s of survivors, that these very behaviours are so often the precursor for escalating violence and even homicide. We need to reach more women sooner, so they can be safe from abuse and fear and rebuild their lives.
“The purpose of the #HiddenAbuse campaign is to remind people that just because you can’t see domestic abuse doesn’t mean it’s not happening. The Hidden Replies feature on Twitter has allowed us to tell an engaging story, one that is based on real-life experiences we hear about everyday and to raise awareness around hidden domestic abuse. We hope people get behind the campaign, Retweet it far and wide and help to continue to open up the conversation around hidden abuse.”
Victims of domestic abuse seeking help or advice are encouraged to visit the Solace website or women in London can call Solace’s advice line on 0808 802 5565 or anyone can contact the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247 or to call 999 if they’re in immediate danger.
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