A powerful anti-domestic violence commercial that aired during Sunday’s Super Bowl game prompted more Miami Valley, Ohio residents to seek help in getting out of abusive relationships.
The morning after the game, up to 70 people — a 10 percent increase — called the Artemis Center Resource Agency for Domestic Violence, said Executive Director Judy Strnad, noting that that’s an unusually high number of calls for a Monday.
She attributes the increase to the NO MORE commercial. NO MORE is a campaign that's aimed at ending domestic violence and sexual assault, according to its website, nomore.org. Several corporations, including the NFL, which was criticized last year for mishandling domestic violence cases against several of its players, sponsor the campaign.
The commercial begins with the voice of a woman talking to a 911 operator, but is pretending to be ordering a pepperoni and mushroom pizza. You then see images of the home with furniture and other items overturned, and a hole punched in a wall.
“Ma’am, is everything OK over there, do you have an emergency or not?” the 911 dispatcher asks.
“Yes,” the woman answers.
The dispatcher realizes that the woman is in danger.
“Is someone in the house with you?” he asks.
“Yes, “I’ll see you soon,” she responds.
The dispatcher then tells the woman that police officers are less than a mile away as the commercial ends.
According to nomore.org:
One in three women and one in four men experience violence from their partners in their lifetimes.
One in three teens experience sexual or physical abuse or threats from a boyfriend or girlfriend in one year.
One in five women are survivors of rape.
One in two women and one in five men have experienced some form of sexual victimization in their lives.
One in four women and one in six men were sexually abused before the age of 18.
In Montgomery County, Ohio, 2,160 domestic violence charges were filed in 2013, according to the state's Attorney General’s more recent report.
“There is a lot of domestic violence going on in this community,” said Strnad. “It’s just an under-reported situation.”
People who have never been in abusive relationships may think the solution is for the victim to walk away, but it’s not that simple, Strnad said. Victims don’t seek help or share their experiences because that could lead to more abuse, she said. Some victims rarely speak out because they are in love with their abusers, Strnad added.
“A victim is often battered six to seven times before attempting to leave the relationship,” she said. “They are at most risk of harm when they try to escape from the person who is harming them.”
Children are also at risk for domestic violence, she said.
“It is not uncommon for a batterer to turn on their children and physically abuse them as well,” said Strnad. “When a child witnesses domestic violence, it harms their ability to form their own relationships.”