For perpetrators of domestic violence, every day is April Fool’s Day as they work to maintain a perfect facade to masque the monster that lies beneath. From the outside looking in, an abusive relationship may look picture perfect, but the new “Hidden Horrors” billboard PSA from Safe in Harm’s Way Foundation Inc., DomesticShelters.org, and Neon, an IPG Health company, encourages the friends and family of abuse victims to take a closer look.
The PSA features an image of an attractive couple posing in front of their beautiful, ideal, home. Both the man and woman are smiling and the husband’s arm is carefully draped across his wife’s shoulder. At first glance, they look happy, healthy and aspirational. The husband appears to be an upstanding gentleman and supportive partner, but upon further inspection, the green monster-like hand clasped upon his wife’s shoulder insinuates that something much darker is happening behind closed doors.
“It’s vital for the abuser to maintain a perfectly crafted facade, and for outsiders who aren’t the target of abuse, it may come as a shock. “But he’s always so nice to me!” they may say, but what most people don’t understand is that everything is premeditated to keep others in the dark while the abuse continues in the privacy of home,” said Caroline Markel Hammond, CEO of Safe in Harm’s Way Foundation, an online platform that safely connects survivors with healing resources, and provides a one-of-a-kind public database of conviction records.
“The darkened windows depicted symbolize the fact that any living being behind those closed doors is at risk. It’s estimated that over 90% of the time, children are witnessing the abuse within the home, and the same percentage of pets in these homes are actually harmed,” Caroline added.
‘Hidden Horrors’ instills an element of fear that’s felt by victims of abusers who gear physical or emotional abusive behaviors towards a spouse, child or pet, otherwise exhibiting normal, non-abusive, or even charming behavior toward anyone outside of the home.
“The abuser isn’t targeting friends or colleagues; they are gearing abuse toward one specific person, and everyone else may experience something completely different. Abusers make great efforts to protect their public perception in order to maintain control over their victim,” said Ashley Rumschlag, CEO & President of DomesticShelters.org, the largest online searchable directory of domestic violence programs and shelters in the U.S. and Canada.
“Hidden Horrors focuses on the nuance and strategic deception that takes place in an abusive relationship, juxtaposing private and public life. This is especially relevant in the age of social media. We wanted to put a spotlight on the subtle details that are breaks in the façade – a possessive hand, a demeaning expression, strained body language, panicked eyes and darkened windows. It exists right before our eyes; our aim is to make it visible,” said Sam Lauro, Group Art Supervisor at Neon.
The “Hidden Horrors” campaign launched on March 27, on the heels of Women’s History Month and the start of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April. The campaign is being featured on over 2,900 national screens in high-traffic areas like Times Square’s entrance in New York City, Union Station in D.C, Bayside Marketplace in Miami, 110 freeway entrance in LA, and general office lobbies and elevators, gas stations, billboards, digital bulletins, and mall kiosks throughout the country.
All campaign images mention both Safe In Harm’s Way and DomesticShelters.org, along with the initiative’s microsite Hidden-Horrors.com developed by Neon, an IPG Health Company. The first of its kind in the space, the site is designed as a comprehensive decision tree matrix; a series of directive questions that address visitors’ specific situational needs and provide them with resources based on their answers.
About Safe in Harm’s Way Foundation Inc.
Safe in Harm’s Way Foundation Inc. is a domestic violence non-profit connecting victims with resources to build community and discover the feelings within personal relationships which equate to the red flags of abuse; allowing for resources and connections which can bring safety, health and healing to each person's unique situation. The company was born out of necessity, as its Founder, Caroline Markel Hammond is a survivor of domestic violence and realized the unique unmet needs during her escape from abuse. The Safe in Harm’s Way online platform provides eye-opening stories from abuse survivors, a one-of-a-kind public database of conviction records and a variety of corporate solutions in partnership with Epizon Strategy that can be implemented immediately, thereby protecting corporate reputation, safety and profits. Follow @SafeinHarmsWay on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Spotify, or visit www.safeinharmsway.org.
About DomesticShelters.org (A Service of Theresa’s Fund)
Theresa’s Fund is an Arizona-based 501(c)3 non-profit charity started in 1992 by Preston V. McMurry, Jr. At a time when domestic violence wasn’t yet a headline, Theresa’s Fund focused on changing the landscape of domestic violence services in its home state through grantmaking, board development and fundraising for Arizona-based organizations like East Valley Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, Florence Crittenden, Emerge, UMOM, and West Valley Child Crisis Center. In 2014, it developed the DomesticShelters.org concept as a way to expand its reach to people across the U.S. and Canada. DomesticShelters.org is the first online and mobile searchable database of programs and shelters in the U.S./Canada, and a leading source of helpful tools and information for people experiencing and working to end domestic violence. It is also the host of the Purple Ribbon Awards, the first comprehensive awards program honoring the countless heroes of the domestic violence movement, including advocates, programs, shelters, survivors and members of the community support system. Learn more at DomesticShelters.org.
About Neon, An IPG Health Company
Part of the IPG Health network, Neon is a full-service healthcare agency that lights the way with innovative creative solutions to the biggest challenges of life-saving brands. With a boutique agency feel backed by big network resources, and an entrepreneurial spirit, Neon works across a number of audiences and channels – from HCP and DTC/DTP to digital engagement, patient support and more. The agency delivers a diversified offering and depth of expertise that includes strategic planning, medical strategy, health literacy, engagement planning, user experience, technology and development, branding and design. Learn more by visiting Neon's website.