This Jarring Domestic Violence PSA Shows How, For Some Women, the Holidays Are a Nightmare

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LONDON—While most people look to Thanksgiving and Christmas as brief beacon of hope in what has been a very tough 2020, for some—particularly victims of domestic abuse—being trapped time at home during the holiday season can turn into a nightmare.

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Solace Women’s Aid, a British charity that works to end violence against women and girls, has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the plight many women and children will face this festive season.

The organization’s jarring ad strives to point out that it’s not just the physical, sexual and mental abuse itself that so harms women and girls; rather, it’s the trauma they are left to bear. The lingering emotional anguish following a physical attack in their own home leaves them reliving terrible memories again and again, making escape seem impossible.

The spot, created by the non-profit in collaboration with London agency Stack, uses repetitive music to chilling effect in getting its message across.

The ad opens with a frame of a festive home. The scene focuses on a warm fire under Christmas stockings hung on the mantelpiece. A rendition of “Deck the Halls” plays in the background. But as the joyous tune loops repeatedly and, ultimately, frantically, the traditional holiday classic becomes almost unbearable before cutting out.

The #MakeItStop spot reflects how some woman and girls are unable to stop replaying their own traumatic experiences. It urges donations to its services in order to provide therapy to survivors and help them to “gain control over their experiences” through therapy.

The organization said it expected to see a peak in demand over the holiday season. During the pandemic, Solace reports high risk abuse cases rising by 67%.

Fiona Dwyer, Solace’s CEO, said trauma causes long-term harm that many survivors of domestic abuse struggled with.

“This is why, at Solace, alongside running refuge services and places of safety for women and children to flee domestic abuse and violence, provides specialist therapy and counselling services to help survivors on their long term journey to healing and recovery,” she said.

“This year, during the pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, Solace has seen an increase in the volume of women seeking our help, and we are also seeing an increase in women facing complex trauma and mental health issues because of the abuse and violence they’ve suffered,” she added.

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