Contact: Teri Stoddard
Verizon Video Teaches Children to Fear Fathers, SAVE Charges
Washington, DC/November 29, 2011 — A domestic violence video produced by the Verizon Foundation distorts the facts, plays on emotions, and serves to alarm and frighten young children. Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), an advocate for domestic violence victims, has communicated with Verizon executives about the numerous factual errors, but the company refuses to correct its dangerous misinformation.
Titled “Monsters,” the video revels in powerful yet destructive stereotypes: fathers as abusers, wives as victims, and young boys as future abusers. “The child who lives with domestic violence… is afraid of the monster just down the hall,” a girl’s voiceover intones, while frightening images of a hunchbacked monster-dad flit across the screen: http://www.multivu.com/mnr/
Verizon’s aim in making the video — to help victims caught in abusive relationships — was noble. But the corporation is condoning the cycle of violence, since half of all partner abuse is mutual. An exhaustive California State University review of scholarship determined that levels of partner aggression are the same, if not higher, among females: http://csulb.edu/~mfiebert/
This past Sunday a Philadelphia woman struck her boyfriend with her car when he attempted to escape the vehicle. The man was crushed by the impact and pronounced dead at the scene: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/
And a recent Washington Post article documented growing levels of aggressive behavior among women on campuses and in schools: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/violent-incidents-involving-female-students-surge-on-campuses-in-schools/2011/11/11/gIQAOsMJJN_story.html.
The compelling — but unfounded — stereotype of an abuser population of men may prevent half of domestic violence victims from reporting their abuse, and half its perpetrators from receiving the intervention they need.
“This video is particularly disturbing since the use of animation makes it appealing to children. It smears adult men as the only abusers in a household, when the fact is women are as likely to abuse their partners as men,” explains SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook. “This video is dangerously harmful to children and to families.”
SAVE has documented that domestic violence misinformation is widespread and undermines the credibility and effectiveness of legitimate abuse-reduction programs: http://www.saveservices.org/