Full Stop Foundation shines spotlight on all forms of domestic abuse in new ad

The Full Stop Foundation is highlighting the many and varied ways domestic abuse can manifest beyond just physical violence with a re-enacted phone call from a victim in its latest campaign.

Created by BMF, the ‘#MakeItStop’ campaign aims to challenge the perception physical abuse is the ‘only’ or ‘worst’ type of domestic violence, with financial and emotional abuse the more common – but less recognised – forms of domestic abuse.

The campaign features a re-enacted phone call – the likes of which the Full Stop Foundation receives every day – with people at different life stages listening in and calling ‘stop’ if it becomes too distressing.

The campaign also asks consumers to share a photo holding their hand out with the hashtag #makeitstop written on their palms to show their support and send a text message if they wish to donate.

According to the Full Stop Foundation’s CEO Karen Willis, the campaign was developed on the insight that less than 20% of domestic violence is physical, while 80% manifests in other ways.

“The fact is there is another 80% of domestic violence out there that actually never involves any physical abuse but it’s about psychological, social, emotional, sexual and financial abuse and that’s what we wanted to highlight,” Willis said. 

“Most of our work around assisting people towards recovery and reducing their psychological arousal symptoms, and their cognitive change symptoms, is actually about the words that were used in a power and control paradigm, where fear was a big part of what was going on.

“It was important for us not to say that the physical part of domestic violence is better or worse, we are trying to say all of these things are horrendous and all of these behaviours are domestic violence.”

Willis added while physical violence can be “stark” and “in your face”, it is harder to talk about psychological injury, financial control and sexual abuse.

“Actually hearing a re-enactment of the sort of call we would get on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, really brings home the pain, confusion and the fear and the impact that that sort of behaviour has had on somebody, in a very short, concise way.”

Commenting on the challenges of communicating the Full Stop Foundation’s message without upsetting people, she said it was “always the challenge”.

“It’s really impossible to talk about sexual assault and domestic violence without it being horrific and triggering for people.

“On one part, we don’t want people to be anything other than horrified and triggered by this stuff. I don’t want us to ever get used to the idea this is happening in our community,” she said.

“We are wanting a response, and we are wanting people to say ‘This is no good and we need to do something about it’. On the other hand, you don’t want to make a screaming mess out of people.

“It’s difficult to get that fine line and I think BMF has done a great job in doing that. And the trigger warnings are there as well.

“On a positive note, this is terrible and awful, but everybody can do something about it, everybody can put a stop to this. And everybody can donate to help us answer those calls,” she added.

Willis hopes the campaign will allow for more counsellors to answer phones, increase their capacity to support Aboriginal communities through the Hey Sis program, and offer services to early abusers of domestic violence, to ensure their partners are not future clients of the not for profit.

“While the ad is certainly a difficult ad to watch and is certainly challenging, the message is full stop and we do want to put a full stop to this,” she said.

“We must be the only workforce in the world that wants to be made redundant ’cause there’s no more work to do.”


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