— The Salvation Army (@salvationarmy) March 6, 2015
Well, that was fast: only a week after the Internet was torn asunder by the world’s most frustrating article of clothing, the South African branch of the Salvation Army has already released an anti-domestic violence PSA featuring a woman wearing the dress and the message “Why is it so hard to see black and blue? The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in 6 women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”
Jezebel points out that the ad also features the number for a domestic abuse hotline, although the font is almost unnoticeable, at least in online versions of the PSA.
Considering the Salvation Army’s historically terrible treatment of trans women and LGBTQ persons, I’ll admit to being inherently skeptical of all the organization’s campaigns. But it’s hard to be critical of this PSA in light of recent events; unlike No More, the NFL’s sham of a domestic violence awareness campaign, at least the Salvation Army is actually offering helpful services for (straight cis) women. That’s an incredibly low bar for what constitutes “helpful,” especially since the organization prioritizes some women over others, but the ad does firmly put the blame on abusers and boosts awareness of the hotline.
What do you all make of the PSA? Although it initially took me aback to see “the dress’ used to address such a serious subject, being topical will undoubtedly draw more attention to the Salvation Army’s services. There’s something disconcerting about the way the model is posed (despite the fact that she’s severely injured, it seems like the ad still defaults to using a woman as eye candy), and as always it would be helpful if domestic violence campaigns could highlight the less obvious indicators of abuse as well as the physical ones, but there’s no doubting that the ad will get a lot of traction and hopefully raise awareness along the way.
Have a tip we should know? email@example.com