Saudi Arabia has released its first anti-domestic violence advertisement. Ever.
The ad features a woman wearing a hijab, with her face completely covered – except for her eyes. One of those eyes is blackened; a painful-looking purple bruise marring her skin.
The slogan says, “Some things can’t be covered – fighting women’s abuse together.”
Saudi Arabia is a country where women are not permitted to drive. Where women are only allowed to ride bicycles, if they are accompanied by a male relative – and are hampered by a required full-length veil.
It is a country where women were only given the right to vote in 2011. It is a country where women are not valued as full and equal citizens. Where women are often treated as property and not as people.
It is a country where domestic violence is shockingly widespread.
This confronting advertisement is a small step, yes. But it’s a small step in the right direction.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s anti-domestic violence ad has been funded by the King Khalid Charitable Foundation. In a statement, the Foundation said that:
“The phenomenon of battered women in Saudi Arabia is much greater than is apparent on the surface. It is a phenomenon found in the dark. We want to achieve justice for all women and children exposed to abuse in all parts of the Kingdom.”
This is just the first ad as part of a larger No More Abuse campaign, that will encourage women to report domestic violence to the authorities (though not specifically encourage perpetrators to not to commit acts of domestic violence in the first place).
The aim of the advertisement is to “provide legal protection for women and children from abuse in Saudi Arabia.”