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‘The Dress’ used to tackle domestic violence

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

If you’ve been anywhere on the Internet in the last week, you’ll know about ‘The Dress’, an image that went viral and divided opinion across the world. Fierce argument ensued as people took to twitter to declare themselves on the matter. This has now been used to launch an unsettling yet thought provoking campaign by The Salvation Army to highlight the prevalence of domestic violence.

In the advert, a young woman covered in cuts and bruises is pictured lying on the floor, wearing a white and gold version of the opinion-dividing dress. The advert asks ‘Why is it so hard to see black and blue’ and below, referring to the optical illusion that sparked the debate, says ‘The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One is six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.’

The campaign originated with The Salvation Army in South Africa but is being used to highlight domestic violence in the UK, too. A spokesperson from The Salvation Army said ‘We know that one in four women are victims of domestic violence in the UK: this innovative and powerful campaign by The Salvation in South Africa highlights that domestic violence is often overlooked by society. We hope this image helps people see the true impact of this crime.’ The spokesperson goes on to explain that The Salvation Army supports people affected by domestic violence with their human trafficking work and specialist services such as Lifehouses and community centres.

The campaign corresponds with International Women’s Day, which takes place today. With the theme ‘Make it happen: encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women’, the day focused on raising awareness of women’s rights organisations all around the world.

The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme is also introduced in Britain today as well, which now gives people the right to ask police whether their partner has any records of abuse. The scheme is also known as ‘Clare’s Law’ and is named after Clare Wood who was murdered in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend, who already had a history of violence against women.

The Salvation Army’s initiative displays how sweeping Internet fads can be turned into very serious and powerful campaigns. The campaign, along with International Women’s Day and the introduction of Clare’s Law, will hopefully be a step in the right direction in terms of lowering the rates of domestic abuse against women.


Edited by Nicole Jones

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A 3rd year English Literature and Language student at the University of Nottingham.
Harriet Dunlea is Campus Correspondent and Co-Editor in Chief of Her Campus Nottingham. She is a final year English student at the University of Nottingham. Her passion for student journalism derives from her too-nosey-for-her-own-good nature.