PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Teri Stoddard

Telephone: 301-801-0608

Email: tstoddard@saveservices.org

Verizon Abuse Video Sparks Controversy, Condemnation

Washington, DC/December 6, 2011 — SAVE is charging the Verizon Foundation with misleading the public about domestic violence, after the corporate giant released a video filled with one-sided images and controversial claims. Titled “Monsters”, the video presents a bleak picture of home life in America: fathers as abusers, wives and daughters as victims, and sons as future batterers (1).

Research shows levels of partner aggression are the same among males and females (2), an observation highlighted by the recent TV clip of starlet Kim Kardashian punching her husband Kris with a closed fist. A recent Washington Post article documents growing levels of aggressive behavior among women on campuses and in schools (3).

The provocative Verizon video has stirred controversy and invited condemnation.

One editorialist deplored the video’s “misandric boy bashing” and charged the information “has the potential for spreading harm and hate.” (4) The pro-feminist blog Jezebel has described the video as “disturbing” (5). Deploring the overt biases in the video, a blogger at RoarforFreedom wrote, “My mother still tries to convince all of her adult children–as well as the grandchildren, what an idiot and monster my father is” (6).

The Monsters video is not the only source of false information from the Verizon Foundation.

The Verizon website makes the claim, “Domestic violence is the single greatest cause of injury to women ages 15 to 44 in the U.S. – more than muggings, car accidents and rapes combined.” (7).

But leading family researcher Richard Gelles counters, “as good a sound bite as it is, the statement is simply not true.” (8) The overwhelming leading causes of injury to women in this age group are accidental falls and automobile accidents.

The Verizon website claims, “One in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.” But a balanced statement would indicate that one in four men also experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

By focusing on aid only for female victims, Verizon ignores half of the population in need of help and perpetuates inappropriate stereotypes.

“Verizon’s video smears fathers as the only potential abusers in a household, when in fact women are as likely to abuse their partners, and more likely to physically abuse children,” explains SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook. “This scary animated video labels all fathers as potential ‘monsters,’ and frightens impressionable children.”

Misinformation and false stereotypes are widespread and undermine legitimate abuse-reduction efforts: http://www.saveservices.org/downloads/SAVE-DV-Educational-Programs.

(1)   http://www.multivu.com/mnr/52044-verizon-foundation-national-domestic-hotline-video-launch-monsters

(2)   http://csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm

(3)   http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/violent-incidents-involving-female-students-surge-on-campuses-in-schools/2011/11/11/gIQAOsMJJN_story.html

(4)   http://ncfm.org/2011/12/action/the-verizon-foundation-and-the-national-domestic-violence-hotline-team-up-to-promote-hate/

(5)   http://jezebel.com/5865167/domestic-violence-ad-implies-only-men-are-abusers?autoplay

(6)   http://www.roarforfreedom.com/comment-on-domestic-violence-psa-boycott-verizon-for-portraying-all-men-as-abusive-monsters-and-all-boys-as-potential-abusive-monsters-by-thegirlinside/ 

(7)   http://foundation.verizon.com/core/domestic.shtml

(8)   Gelles R. The politics of research: The use, abuse, and misuse of social science data. Family Court Review Vol. 45, 2007, page 45.

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence: www.saveservices.org.