Women’s Aid Federation Northern Ireland has launched a suite of new digital outdoor ads across Belfast carrying the powerful message that, physical or not, abuse is abuse and can be prosecuted.
St Patrick’s Day crowds across Belfast will see digital billboards showing abusive phrases painfully imprinted on a woman’s skin.
The expressions – “who else would want you?”, “you belong to me”, “it’s your fault” – are all phrases that are frequently reported in cases of emotional abuse.
Emotional abuse is a pattern of behaviour designed to intimidate, frighten and control a partner. It is illegal and perpetrators can be prosecuted, but awareness of this is disturbingly low and, as a result, many cases go unreported.
The work, created by WCRS, aims to combat that by challenging people to report abuse in whatever form it takes, even if it doesn’t leave a physical mark.
The photography was crafted using 3D-printed stamps and anonymous volunteer models. It was shot by Kai Bastard and the makeup was done by Bill Turpin.
It will run for one week on Bravo Outdoor’s premium outdoor sites around Belfast.
Jan Melia, CEO of Women’s Aid Northern Ireland, said: “Emotional abuse is harder to see. Our hope is that this work will bring attention to this, kick starting a campaign to raise awareness and letting victims know there is support for them.”
Christopher Ringsell, Creative Director at WCRS, said: “Physically creating these messages of control and showing them debossed onto the skin of our female bodies helps to highlight this emotional form of abuse in a visually powerful way, hopefully encouraging victims to reach out knowing there is support for them.”