Has Super Bowl Sunday become a new kind of Domestic Violence Awareness Day? Since video of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice assaulting his then fiancée and now wife surfaced in the fall, much public debate and conversation has taken place around the NFL’s response when professional football players are charged with domestic violence. Since this fall’s public outcry, the NFL has moved forward with a stricter six-game sanction for any player’s first DV offense, and a lifetime ban for the player should further offenses occur.
The NFL also committed itself to domestic violence awareness and prevention, and to prove it, the organization has donated a block of air time during this Sunday’s Super Bowl to air a groundbreaking public service commercial from NO MORE, a public advocacy campaign aimed at stopping domestic violence.
The first-ever Super Bowl commercial to deal with domestic violence, the ad itself avoids any direct images of violence. Based on an actual phone call, the spot opens with a woman calling 911 to order pizza. The operator asks why she’s calling 911 for the delivery before realizing why she can’t talk freely. He gets the caller’s address and assures her help is on the way, even as the woman continues the ruse, asking for a large pie with half pepperoni and half mushrooms. As Time magazine describes, the camera then pans across a house, where it looks like an altercation has occurred, with books strewn about a disheveled rug, a punched-out wall and a broken picture of a woman.
The commercial ends with the line: “When it’s hard to talk, it’s up to us to listen.”
Commercials during the Super Bowl are as almost as big a draw as the Big Game itself, and this one is no exception. The goal of the commercial is to spread DV awareness. How can you help with this mission? The NO MORE campaign asks that if you watch this ad at your Super Bowl party, you do your part to help spark conversation about domestic violence. Here are some ways to get people talking and listening:
Tip #1: Know the Facts: Domestic violence victims can be both women and men. Statistically speaking, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced domestic violence, and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men have experienced sexual assault at some point in their lifetime. In New Jersey, approximately 70,000 domestic violence offenses are reported to the police each year.
Tip #2: If someone you know discloses that they are experiencing abuse now or have in the past, remember this could be the first time they’re telling someone. Reassure them that you believe them and that the abuse was not their fault. The most important thing you can do in this moment is listen and support them.
Most of all, make sure to be patient, non-judgmental, and respectful of their decisions. Learn the signs of domestic violence and abuse. Ask them if they’d like to talk to a professional counselor, and offer to sit with them while they call a national or local hotline.
Tip #3: Make sure that your friends know whom to call to get help and where to find information. For immediate help, please call 911. Other organizations offering assistance include:
- NJ Domestic Violence Hotline (24/7): 1-800-572-SAFE (7233)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- Teen Dating Violence Hotline: 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522
For further support, our Weinberger Divorce & Family Law Group website offers important legal information for domestic violence victims in New Jersey, including our how-to guide on filing for a temporary restraining order.
Tip #4: Speak up when you hear offensive comments that degrade women, men, or victims of abuse. According to the NO MORE campaign, “Hey, it’s a Super Bowl party, so there’s a good chance that someone is going to make some inappropriate remarks. The best thing you can do is speak up and tell them that you’re not comfortable with that kind of talk. Simply doing that can help your friends understand that it’s not cool for them or anyone to degrade a person.”