|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Press Conference to Launch Animated Campaign against Domestic Violence, Abuse
An innovative global campaign aimed at preventing domestic violence and abuse was launched today at a Headquarters press conference sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations.
Featuring animated comedic sketches, the“No Excuses” campaign was intended to reach 80 per cent of the world’s population — more than 5.7 billion people — in their own languages, said Executive Producer and Director Firdaus Kharas. It featured 11 animated public service announcements, or “spots”, directed primarily at the abuser.
The spots were available free of charge to any television broadcaster, radio station, non-governmental organization, human rights group, university or school free of charge anywhere in the world, he said, adding that each user could choose the spots most appropriate for their country. “This campaign is unique,” Mr. Kharas said, noting that it was freely distributed, multilingual, had global reach and tackled the most difficult issues. “Essentially we are shining a light where there is darkness.”
He went on to state that the spots were designed to create behaviour change by catalysing family conversations about abuse. The goal was to make them available in 73 languages and to have them seen in 100 countries by at least one billion people, he said, adding that, thus far, he had provided most of the funding himself.
Asked how the campaign monitored the applicability of spots around the world, Mr. Kharas said adaptations were first done locally, and the scripts were then rewritten to include local humour and wording. The characters used to convey the messages were designed in such a way that anyone could identify with them, he said, adding that the use of animation allowed viewers more easily to suspend disbelief than would using real people. The spots had been tested in various countries and every broadcaster who had seen them had said they would carry them.
“Funding is a huge problem,” he said in reply to another question, noting that 30 to 40 volunteers had been involved in producing the spots and several hundred others in converting them into various languages. Mr. Kharas said he and his colleagues had provided the bulk of the funding and they had partnered with Governments in distributing the spots.
Asked why domestic violence occurred, he said there were many complex reasons, explaining that when he had started writing the scripts, he had thought of more than 100 issues that the campaign should try to tackle. Domestic violence stemmed from one person’s perception of “self-power” over another. For example, the power relationship between a man and a woman, or between parents and their children, also had an impact. In the end, the campaign had focused on the 10 most prevalent issues: preventing cultural justifications of violence; preventing abuse within marriage; challenging the perceived right of men to commit violence; and preventing the sexual abuse of women, among others.
Regarding the definition of domestic violence, he said such cases were sometimes difficult to define as they were not always clear-cut. The United Nations used one definition while international agreements and national criminal codes used others. He said that for his purposes, he was using words that allowed the viewer to understand what constituted unacceptable behaviour.
* *** *For information media • not an official record