When It Comes to Child Abuse, Does the Sex of the Abuser Really Matter?

This anti-child abuse commercial will ruin your day. It is also brilliant.
Publish date:
September 27, 2011
advertising, child abuse, outrage

The Irish Society For the Prevention Of Cruelty To Children had to pull a commercial because the Advertising Standards Authority received complaints that the depiction of a male abuser breeches gender equality.

The spot, created by Ogilvy Dublin , is still available on YouTube and I'm warning you, it will ruin your day.

As hard as it is to watch, if you can pause to pick your crumpled heart up off the floor, the ad is brilliant.

It focuses on the child, struggling to articulate his hopes for the future while he is being horrifically abused, and on first viewing, before the message is tainted by the ridiculous accusations of how unfair it is to show only a male as the abuser, you are riveted by the child and his message.

I didn't even pay attention to who (A father? Stepfather? Uncle? Boyfriend? Babysitter?) was doing the abusing, because the scene depicted is so powerful.

We can get into statistics about child abuse, whether men or woman are more likely to abuse or if crimes against children are committed with more frequency by either sex, but does it matter? I think the ad should be shown worldwide. I think it should be shot over and over again, showing women and men doing the abusing, shot in different languages with different races portrayed, because as we all too sadly know, abuse against children crosses all sexes, all races, all national origins.

The ISPCC is appealing the ruling and states that, "Any attempt to focus on whether the adult is a male or a female is clearly missing the point and purpose of the ad in the first instance." I can't help but feel if the ad showed a woman doing the abusing, this would have been the last we heard of it until it received a handful of (deserved) Gold Lions at Cannes.

It's a powerful, heartbreaking spot and it deserves to be seen. Hopefully the press it garners from being pulled for "gender inequality" will draw more attention to the ad and its message, rather than the fact people complained about the sex of the abuser shown.

I hope this ad gets Tweeted and Facebook'ed and reposted everywhere. I hope its message isn't sullied by those offended by the fact the abuser is a male. When something like this happens all across the world on an hourly basis, isn't it more important that awareness is raised and people do what they can to stop the abuse of children? I hope so.