Shadow - PosterReaching the parts that others cannot!

No, this is not a reiteration of the rather famous lager advertisement but the implementation of an idea we developed to try to reach those who need our help as well as raising awareness among the public.

We all know that one of the biggest problems of male sexual abuse is that we cannot know how widespread it is. This is because of the reluctance of survivors to disclose what happened for a variety of reasons but ones that include the fear of not being believed, shame, guilt, not knowing to whom to turn for help, not even being able to share what has happened with your closest family let alone your mates who may well just ridicule you – such is the misunderstanding about rape and sexual abuse of men. We have tried to capture some of that recognition that, for many who hear about this, it is still a source of misplaced amusement in what we describe below. All this means that there are some very hard to reach individuals who need the longer term support that we can offer.

That’s why we approached Clear Channel which, apart from managing advertisements on bus shelters, also manages the output on 264 screens in England, Scotland and Wales which are situated prominently in pubs and bars. As a charity, we were able to get a provocative campaign out on pub screens at only a fraction of the price some £200,000 worth of advertising. Working with the creative agency Duke we are showing a variety of moving and static images for 10 seconds each and the showing will run until the end of May 2017. If you see any of these advertisements then please feedback to us your reaction – we should like to hear.

As the message in all of them is quite hard hitting we had to agree that they would go out after 9pm so as to avoid younger children seeing them. That said, there is a general agreement that education about what can happen to any male, whatever their gender identity, race or other characteristic, needs to start at an early age so that children can learn that they are in charge of their bodies and should be able to spot inappropriate behaviour towards them.

What are those messages? We shall not spoil your anticipation by telling you all but one is a bartender asking what the customer wants, only to receive the response “Violent mood swings and panic attacks, please. No ice” followed by the message “Male rape, no-one asks for it”.

Although we have tried to use targeted Facebook messaging and other forms to try to get to specific vulnerable groups which may need our services this current campaign will reach a wider audience, hopefully including survivors so that they know we are on their side and can offer helpful services, in order to stimulate discussion and comment and, maybe, controversy. To quote Oscar Wilde “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”


Keith Best

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