This is the second article in a series for People Against Violence Org.
Preceding this article, I wrote about the surprisingly high amounts of violence the U.N. was discovering against women. You can read that article here.
Today in the Toronto Star published an article on Kathleen Wynne’s crusade against sexual violence featuring an edgy ad that has gone global.
Now, you’re all wondering why I’ve chosen this article as a platform for my thoughts. I have two objections to raise on the subject. The first being that it takes a viral/global video to raise awareness, and only awareness (which is a powerful tool), how will we be able to document whether action is taken? The second is that this ad only focuses on one aspect on sexual violence.
To address the first point: In the article, Wynne said she is pleased by the reception to her government’s “It’s Never Okay” action plan, sparked by Star investigations into sexual assault allegations against ex-broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi and an examination of how universities and colleges handled complaints of sexual violence. Which is an excellent way to begin a foray on the subject, only it shouldn’t take a national figure head’s crime to cause a world-wide discussion. Right? We all know that these things happen and while we state our qualms about the issue, it takes an “edgy” ad to make people care.
The article went on to disclose the premier’s hope for the outcome, “By having this discussion as a society, we can do a much better job of increasing awareness, having an open discussion about what healthy relationships are and what appropriate behaviour is.” I too hope this is the case. We see/read about all of these things happening, we create ads, theatrical films and take poignant photographs (which is exactly what FindingFelicity is about essentially) but do we do anything about it. This is as much a message to you as it is for me. A challenge to take the knowledge and the media, couple them together, get up from wherever you are and do something.
To address my second point: Wynne mentions appropriate behaviour and what is expected in a relationship, but from who? This ad features sexual violence against one gender. Don’t get me wrong, I am a feminist and this is a powerful ad, but I have to raise a valid point that there is sexual violence against more than the female gender. A friend of mine brought an excellent point in response to my previous post saying that violence anywhere is wrong. It should be common sense, it shouldn’t have to be intuitive, it is just wrong. Agreed.
I know that #WhoWillYouHelp can only use so much time to distill and bring to light some things to the general public. That being said, more emphasis needs to be placed on sexual violence against any gender, not only females. The plight of the female facing sexual violence is relevant and larger than life, and it should be dealt with, but the plight of the LGBTQ teenager/adult should be broadcast as well as should the plight of yes the male gender (because sexual violence does exist against men as well).
The edgy ad is a step in the right direction, but also the same type of step we’ve been making for years, almost a side-step in the square dance of awareness/action against sexual violence. If we could take a big honking huge leap forward that would be wonderful! Cover all genders, let the world know that sexual violence in any circumstance is wrong and should be stopped, but for right now I’ll celebrate in the awareness the ad is creating because it’s better than none.
Thank you for reading and Good Afternoon.
FindingFelicity: We aim to raise awareness to patient autonomy and Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a debilitating cancer with personal significance. This site, albeit with a public health agenda, embraces the notion that raising awareness can be accomplished in tandem with any interesting writing, regardless of the topic. A Therapeutic Passage. A cultural segue to more serious issues.