Keira Knightley's anti_domestic violence commercial

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remind remind's picture
Keira Knightley's anti_domestic violence commercial

Anybody else seen Keira's AD ad? It is powerful and evocative and it seems the powers that be do not like it. Last evening all I heard on entertainment shows and news clips is the question; "has she gone to far and is this acceptable?"

I say; "hell yes, it is acceptable and long over due".

 Feministing has a link to the commercial and a segment on it.

 

martin dufresne
ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

  I guess maybe someone somewhere is getting flack about it.  The video has been removed from YouTube.  At least with the comments in your link Remind I can get some idea of the content.  I'd like to see it. Hopefully someone will stick it up again somewhere. 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

"This video has been removed by the user"

Got another link?

 

ETA: [url=Here">http://www.womensaid.org.uk/page.asp?section=0001000100100012&sectionTit...'s one[/url]

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

 Thanks Martin!

Jingles

I just watched it on Youtube. The comments there are sickening. Of course, the youtube comments section is a compelling argument for human extinction.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

 I watched it now  and no I don't think she has gone to far.

remind remind's picture

I believe that we need to support this action of Keira's, yes the commercial can be considered to be a trigger, however, better IMV, that we get triggered as oppposed to creating more women, who will be triggered if they experience DV and don't get away from it before it is too late.

Afterall patriarchy benefits from all acts of DV and  those who want patriarchy upheld do not want them to stop.

Interestingly, one cannot get to Keira's web site either to leave her a positive and supportive message, has it been blocked?

 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

  More likely overloaded. 

remind remind's picture

Yes I suppose. Perhaps by the whacks who think they can brutalize women all they want!

In related DV, I heard that Rhianna got rid of Chris Brown from her life.

farnival

very well done. kudos to keira knightley for making it. there should be more frank and unvarnished public service ads like this. if people don't like it or appreciate it, perhaps they should ask themselves why.

martin dufresne

When I read "the powers that be do not like it", I thought that maybe this clip turned the tables and showed some kind of revenge fantasy. It's rather awesome that even a realistic scene of a woman being badly hurt, seeming absolutely powerless as most women are in these situations, can still elicit agressive, hostile responses from hateful males. A matter of silencing an inconvenient truth.  

In Quebec, a small cadre of antifeminists are organized enough to put major pressure on the TV networks that air awareness-raising public service announcements against wife battering and rape. They claim these "discriminate against men" by depicting (some) men as abusers rather than as victims and not stating that men are equally - indeed more - violent, according to their trumped-up stats...

remind remind's picture

For women who have experienced this treatment of; pulling you around by your hair, punching and throwing you around, watching such a strong depiction literally shoves you back into the moment(s) it happened to you too. It is difficult to watch as it impacts you each and every time you see it.

However, if just one girl can be saved by watching that advertisement, I would accept such a trigger.

Alberta just had a series of public service ads on about domestic violence and they were quite good, though not hard hitting like this one. Apparently this action and elevated women's services are in response to the statistics that AB women experience the highest rates of domestic violence in Canada.

People should be emailing the link to the ad to all their contacts, I did, get it out and silence those who would try and stop it. For trying they are, and I am thinking this will damage her career even.

 

Refuge Refuge's picture

remind wrote:

For women who have experienced this treatment of; pulling you around by your hair, punching and throwing you around, watching such a strong depiction literally shoves you back into the moment(s) it happened to you too. It is difficult to watch as it impacts you each and every time you see it.

However, if just one girl can be saved by watching that advertisement, I would accept such a trigger.

I agree Remind. I am hoping that those who haven't experienced that kind of rage and violence feel the same trigger, even if not as close to the bone, so that when someone they know is affected they treat it with the seriousness and action that is needed and not just minimize it and rationalize it so they can go on living their lives undisturbed.

Snert Snert's picture

This is reminiscent of another series of similar frank and unapologetic ads that ran on television a few years ago.  The one I can remember had a man brutalizing a server in a restaurant because she got his order wrong.  The stinger message was "If this isn't OK here, what makes it OK at home?" or some similar.

I expect, and hope, that they would serve as a wake-up to anyone who thinks that violence against women is a "private" thing, or "just a shove" or whatever.  But it's not clear what they do for those who already know that it's not. 

 

remind remind's picture

Snert wrote:
I expect, and hope, that they would serve as a wake-up to anyone who thinks that violence against women is a "private" thing, or "just a shove" or whatever.  But it's not clear what they do for those who already know that it's not. 

I was thinking about this aspect too. That indeed it will anger those who use it as a tool of domination, while it may trigger into action those who get off on do it. For others who just benefit from domestic violence in its upholding of patriarchial dominance, well they could be slightly panic stricken at the thought of youg girls being empowered to do away with male control.

martin dufresne

I don't think there is any misunderstanding in the minds of the men who abuse women; they know they are not entitled to do it. Indeed they are quite careful about making it nearly impossible for their victim to get confirmation, help, an escape route through intimidation, threats of even more violence, etc. Indeed, the notion that we would be making them "angry" by taking on their behaviour is, I think, a conditioned response to that intimidation.

As for being "triggered", I don't think this notion should be extended from victims reliving abuse in certan contexts to abusers being mechanistically "set off" by whatever. Batterers choose to batter.

remind remind's picture

Some batters also get off on battering, and seeing acts of violence prompts them to want to do it themselves.

And I call BS on that "we would be making them "angry" by taking on their behaviour is", as being a conditioned response. It is a fact

Batterers are angered when people take on their battering and confront it. They do not like the challenge,

nor someone trying to erode their power base. Does that stop one from challeging? No! I do not give a shit whether they are angry.

I have actually had a friend's battering husband tell me he was king, and could do what he wanted and that I had no business saying otherwise.

I laughed in his face, called social services and had the kids who were watching him batter their mother apprehended.

She left him so she could get her kids back, and he had to go to anger management in order to see them. They got back together about a year

later, and he batters no more.

martin dufresne

OK, maybe I read it wrong. I understood Snert's last sentence as arguing against the efficiency of such PSAs for some men when he wrote "I expect, and hope, that they would serve as a wake-up to anyone who thinks that violence against women is a "private" thing, or "just a shove" or whatever. But it's not clear what they do for those who already know that it's not." (emphasis added) 

I resist the notion that we "are making him angry". Isn't he already hostile, raging and hurting someone badly? How do we know that standing up to him is "making him" angry or angrier? Doesn't that somehow make us responsible for his behaviour?

I am very glad that you did stand up to that guy - bravo!!! - and I'm sure he didn't like it one bit. Maybe I misread you and overreacted by objecting to the "making him angry" assessment and linking it to the line he wants us to toe... Will think about it some more.

remind remind's picture

Yes,  it was not what I meant and perhaps could have worded it better. The anger at being challenged and confronted with the end result being, intolerance of batters is pretty automatic, IMV. They want continued societal silence and avoidance and if they think you may block or challenge their battering they always take steps to isolate you from the person they are battering. My former son in law is case in point.

Too many people look the other way, or believe their must be extenuating circumstances for it, I have found too many people who believe they should just ignore it, or walk away too.  I have stood up to many many male batters of women, from those who give a "cuff"  upside the head, to full out batters. Sadly northern BC for a long while  was a breeding ground for it and it seemed one was always running into it.

Maysie Maysie's picture

I just saw the video. My heart is pounding and I'm out of breath, what's that about.

It was very powerful and a huge thanks to Keira for doing it.

It's fascinating, because the message is clear, and it's completely from her perspective. Something that occurred to me is so very rarely shown through the visual medium of film and video and t.v. I say fascinating because there's tons of violence on t.v. and video and film, most of the idiot commenters wouldn't bat an eye at it, it's so normalized. But such violence is always displayed from the perspective of the person doing the violence, the person inflicting the harm, or the threat of harm. The turnaround in perspective, and of course the message, is so powerful.

remind remind's picture

Apparently, a director from one of her films directed this too! Forgot his name, they both did it for free.

martin dufresne

Joe Wright - there is a good FAQ sheet here.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Quote:
The images were arresting, but odd. I can't imagine celebrity women posing as other sorts of victim: presenting themselves as trafficked women to highlight forced prostitution, or as rape victims to underline the low conviction rate. And what were the images supposed to tell us: that domestic violence is bad? Painful? Causes serious bruising?

Two years on, they seem particularly strange amid the real photographs that have emerged of celebrity women such as the singer Rihanna and glamour model Danielle Lloyd, both of whom are alleged to have been beaten by their partners. You can't help wondering how the genuine victims of domestic violence feel about all these well- meaning facsimiles.

One woman who has campaigned extensively on behalf of domestic violence victims, expresses extreme distaste at the use of these celebrity ads. "I absolutely hate them," she says, "because women aren't able to identify with them - they know the celebrities haven't experienced domestic violence, so it seems a con. Also, the violence in the Knightley ad is so extreme that it enables women who are watching the ad to minimise what is happening to them. They can look at it and think: well, he doesn't hit me full in the face, or kick me in the stomach, so it can't be that bad."

This campaigner also thinks there's a major problem with the fact that anti-domestic violence ads tend to focus on the victims rather than the perpetrators. "It would have been really radical if Keira Knightley had turned to the camera and asked, 'Who are these men who are beating women and getting away with it? Why aren't they being arrested and imprisoned?' That would have been an approach we haven't seen before."

Kira Cochrane in the Guardian

 

Refuge Refuge's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Guardian wrote:
Also, the violence in the Knightley ad is so extreme that it enables women who are watching the ad to minimise what is happening to them. They can look at it and think: well, he doesn't hit me full in the face, or kick me in the stomach, so it can't be that bad."

Speaking as someone who hasn't had the violence as "extreme" as in the comercial I did not minimise what happened to me.  In fact watching the ad made me connect to how "extreme" the violence that I experienced was even though he didn't hit me full in the face or kick me in the stomach.  It isn't a contest about who got it worse.  Violence against another human being is violence against another human being.  When it happens it feels like violence to the victim no matter what the specific actions of the perpetrator.

martin dufresne

Catchfire wrote: "It would have been really radical if Keira Knightley had turned to the camera and asked, 'Who are these men who are beating women and getting away with it? Why aren't they being arrested and imprisoned?'(...)"

Actually, I think it would have destroyed the credibility of the film and message, making Knightley into some kind of editorialist and her character a mere role she had been putting on. Also, personally, I felt that the focus WAS on the perpetrator. if from his victim's perspective. Finally, the "enables women who are watching to minimise what is happening to them" charge is one interpretation of what can happen; another, more credible IMO, is that it allows them to see and feel how far the abuse can go if she doesn't get help to escape him.

I especially appreciated that the film addressed the modern, neo-liberal conceit that relationships with an abuse motif can be scripted, consensual and that any woman can negotiate her safety by just standing up to an abuser. That is when Knightley addresses the batterer as if he was an equal, saying "Sorry, we didn't agree to that. This wasn't in the script." I thought THAT was a radical departure from the current canon.

remind remind's picture

Women aren't able to identify? Able to minimize?  WTF? Who is this women who allegedly said that?

martin dufresne

Antonia Zerbisias reports in her Broadsides column that this great ad has now been BANNED in the UK unless its is made less explicit about male violence, with the most relevant scenes being snipped.Yell

Zerbisias: " ...let's play this back, shall we?

Real women are getting beaten up -- and killed -- by their partners all the time but the media don't treat it as the epidemic of violence it is.

Fictional women get assaulted by their partners and the media make money off that.

But when a real woman plays a fictional woman getting beaten up to help real women who get beaten up all the time, well, kick that off the air because it might upset somebody.

Seriously."

Fidel

I got into the middle of young couple's public display of physical abuse at a club about two years ago and regretted it later. Sometimes abused women will refuse help.

remind remind's picture

fidel fidel fidel.....

jas

Catchfire wrote:

Quote:
they seem particularly strange amid the real photographs that have emerged of celebrity women such as the singer Rihanna and glamour model Danielle Lloyd, both of whom are alleged to have been beaten by their partners. You can't help wondering how the genuine victims of domestic violence feel about all these well- meaning facsimiles.

"Well-meaning facsimiles"? Rihanna was not abused by her partner? She's not a "genuine" victim?

Quote:
One woman who has campaigned extensively on behalf of domestic violence victims, expresses extreme distaste at the use of these celebrity ads. "I absolutely hate them," she says, "because women aren't able to identify with them - they know the celebrities haven't experienced domestic violence, so it seems a con.

How many "celebrity" ads have there been on domestic violence? And who does this "one woman" claim to speak for? How would she know whether celebrities have experienced domestic violence or not? Why would she assume they haven't? And why would she assume on behalf of other women that they haven't? The statistics and real life stories on violence against women would suggest that, quite to the contrary, celebrity does not protect you.

Quote:
Also, the violence in the Knightley ad is so extreme that it enables women who are watching the ad to minimise what is happening to them.

It sounds to me like this person is making excuses. To suggest that the violence in this depiction is more extreme than what occurs in real life suggests to me that this person may not really know what she's talking about. I think the video is good. Knightley is portraying an actor, which is what she is. What's the problem?

 

Maysie Maysie's picture

The violence being extreme, to me, is about literally forcing the point home.

The video made me remember a t.v. ad from a few years ago, in which a woman is looking in a mirror and we hear echoes of a male voice saying things like "you're stupid" "you're useless" "you'll never leave me" and other emotionally abusive things. The camera pans around and slowly bruises form on the image of her face in the mirror. Very powerful. The ad was for emotional abuse, and the point was 1. it's abuse, and 2. that's it's as harmful as physical abuse.

While on one side I feel that Keira's PSA needs to be that graphic to make it's point, it's of course our violent society that has numbed us to images, fictional or factual, of violence, and violence against women in particular.

And remind, yes, I've worked with women who needed to believe anything in order to deny or minimize the violence of their partner. I look at the various "excuses" as simply a stage that some women go through, and with information and support, can hopefully, but not always, move past that stage. Excuses will include looking at an ad like that and saying/thinking, "well he's not as bad as that so I'm not being abused". Women will also, in counselling, need to list all the "wonderful" things about their partners, and after saying all that out loud, maybe, finally, will be able to speak to their own pain, physical and emotional, that brought them to the place where they're talking all this out and moving on, leaving it behind.

I don't think it's helpful in these discussions  to focus on women who are not in a place to name their abuse. The focus IRL is on getting them out and into safer living conditions where possible. Whatever they want to call what's happened to them matters very little.

And Fidel, as a man, and a stranger to the woman you mentioned, there was virtually nothing you could do in that moment to intervene except perhaps to stop the immediate violence/abuse in your presence. Any behaviour on her part to publicly side with you, against him, would be something used as yet another excuse for a future assault on her. Abuse is about power, and any random man is a stranger. For all you know, part of his "excuse" to hit her is that she looks at or talks to other men. This isn't about you or "trying to help". Help happens in ways that women will best respond to. Random strange men confronting their abuser, in their presence, is never going to work.

remind remind's picture

Mayysie, I think it is just as likely many women will identify, as those who won't. My position is very close to Jas's on this.

Bookish Agrarian

 

Just to pick up on Maysie's last point - back when I was young I worked as a DJ in a couple of really large bars.

 

From my lofty perch I could see all the various ways humans treat other humans.  While it did not happen regularly, it happened often enough to be noticeable, it would be clear that a woman was in an abusive relationship.

 

The first few times I witnessed actual physical abuse going on coming from a background where such behaviour was just wrong and being a bit of a hard ass back then I would step in physically.  (Truth be told I probably had fantasies about being the big shiny white knight).  About the third time this happened the woman- having her arm twisted painfully out of sight of most people -  locked eyes as I approached all puffed up in righteousness I am sure.  The look of complete and utter fear in her eyes, along with an intense pleading caught me up short.  I still came over to the area, pretending to be on some club errand, to stop things but didn't get involved in the same way as before.

 

After that I thought long and hard.  I am not the type of person who could do nothing - just wasn't brought up that way.  That woman made me realize I might be doing more long term harm to her than the short term abuse I would stop.  I wasn't going to be around all day long in her life after all.  So instead I made up a little card.  It said you are not alone and listed some numbers and places a woman could get help.  I would wander around handing out my business card pretending to drum up business for a DJing business, but that person would get the other card.  Not one was ever thrown immediately away.

 

Was it the right thing to do, or did it just make me feel better - all these years later I still don't know.  I do know though that abuse happens all the time, even discretely in public and sometimes we have to hold a mirror up to the ugliness.  In that respect I think this Knightley PSA is a powerful image that reflects too much reality and I think she should be commended for doing it when the easiest thing would be to turn away.

Maysie Maysie's picture

remind wrote:
 Mayysie, I think it is just as likely many women will identify, as those who won't. My position is very close to Jas's on this.

Then I guess I wasn't sure what the argument was. If that's the argument then I have no opinion on the number of women who will identify with the ad versus those who would not. I think the ad was powerful and it's message clear. I wish we'd show it here, in Canada.

Bookish, wow. Thanks so much for sharing that, and your perspective as well, as a stranger, and a man, in that context. I would say that yes, your business card switcheroo was absolutely a right thing to do. Quite clever. There are tricks that I won't share on a public discussion board, about how to get women info and phone numbers, as well as planning her escape and having a safety plan, all right under the nose of her abuser. It involves a similar-minded way of thinking as your technique. Information and resistance is never wrong. I wish there were more like you. 

remind remind's picture

Me too, maysie!

Thank you for sharing thatbookish, gives me hope.

Bookish Agrarian

Thanks for the kind words Maysie and remind. 

remind remind's picture

No, thank you for giving women the kind of upport they need!

martin dufresne

An allie writes: They did the same thing to Homefront/Calgary's anti-DV TV PSA.  Ironically, their ads were deemed "too violent" the same week they aired the Sopranos episode where Tony Soprano kicks a prostitute to death.
The Homefront ads are at www.homefrontcalgary.com." 

martin dufresne

But one video that will get plenty of airplay is the one for the new Bob Dylan song, where a battered woman kisses her abuser after ambushing and mauling him. Clearly a response to the Keira Knightley PSA and one that no one will dare pull off the air. After all, the lyrics are all lovey-dovey...

remind remind's picture

Interesting what is Dylan doing supporting batterers?

ennir

The message was a wake-up call, the MSM can't have that.

I was surprised that so many found it extreme, I have known more violence than that and when I worked at a shelter for women who had been abused I heard stories of cruelty that make that ad look like a scolding.

Thanks to Keira Knightley and all those involved for speaking out. 

martin dufresne

Predictably Dylan denies responsibility for the videoclip - director Nash Edgerton was allowed "creative licence"...

The song lyrics themselves are romantic pap - with an occasional nasty undertone:

 

"...Down every street there's a window
And every window's made of glass
We'll keep on lovin' pretty baby
For as long as love will last..."

martin dufresne

Did protestors really find it extreme, do you think, or did they paint it as such and as anti-men in order to shut out realistic depictions of domestic violence and support for women's resources? The antifeminist lobby is constantly hitting on open lines, internet forums, letters to the editor, etc. in order to achieve its agenda. An example

ennir

I found that funny, one defends Kiera cause she's so hot and he's convinced/hoping someone talked her into it and that she didn't decide herself, oh for men who lean in and whisper, "please don't have a mind". lol