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112 million people just held their breath for 60 seconds watching this video.

Is this the most dangerous night of the year to be a woman in America?

Trigger warning: This post deals with issues of sexual assault and domestic violence and may be triggering for survivors of abuse. But ultimately, this video is empowering and important. 

112 million people watch the Superbowl live in the United States.

It’s the biggest sporting event of the year — fuelled by testosterone, paid for with cash from some of the world’s biggest companies.

A 30-second ad slot during the game costs $4 million; a full minute is $8 million.

And all those rabid sports fans just held their breath for 60 expensive seconds — watching an National Football League public service announcement about domestic violence.

It’s arguably the most important minute of airtime in the game’s 45-year-long history.

Watch the ad from No More here (post continues after the video).

You may feel like you’ve eavesdropped on this phone call before. That’s because it’s a genuine 911 call recorded by emergency services in the states, and the audio went viral online in October last year. The man taking the call is originally flummoxed — why has this woman called 911 to order a large pizza pepperoni pizza? — but thankfully, he realises she’s speaking in code. She’s in danger, and in earshot of her attacker.

Read more: He thought it was a prank call, but this emergency operator ended up saving a life.

Here is a transcript of this frankly remarkable call for help:

“I’d like to order a pizza for delivery.”
“Ma’am, you’ve reached 911. This is an emergency line.”
“Yeah, a large with half pepperoni, half mushrooms.”
“Um, you know you’ve called 911? This is an emergency line.”
“Do you know how long it will be?”
“OK, ma’am, is everything OK over there? Do you have an emergency or not?”
“Yes”
“…and you’re unable to talk because?”
“Right, right.”
“Is there someone in the room with you? Just say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’”
“Yes.”
“OK, um, it looks like I have an officer about a mile from your location. Are there any weapons in your house?”
“No.”
“Can you stay on the phone with me?”
“No. See you soon. Thank you.”

And here’s the take-away message from the No More pledge to end domestic violence:

Now, this PSA is powerful on its own. It’s chilling.

But the fact that this aired during the most lucrative sports event in the states makes it infinitely more powerful.

Some commentators and social campaigners have asked whether tonight is ‘the most dangerous night of the year’ in America. Why? Because of the horrifying correlation between large scale, widely watched sporting events played by men and the subsequent violence against women that occurs when the results of such anticipated matches become known.

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NFL has a dire problem with violence against women, sexual assault, and family violence itself — this is the sport Ray Rice plays.

Ray Rice, of the Baltimore Ravens, who was caught on CCTV beating and dragging his unconscious wife out of an elevator… but was allowed back to play almost straight away because sport is generally more important than a woman’s safety.

More broadly, sport has a violence against women problem. Broader still, men have a violence against women problem.

No wait, it’s not just a problem; it’s a global crisis we desperately need to solve to keep women safe in their own homes. So, to literally interrupt a celebration of masculinity with this ad is nothing short of astounding. History-making. Sensational.

And to have high profile athletes — like Cornerback Richard Sherman, who is basically a national hero — speak out in support of this campaign is even better.

The Seahawks player said something extremely obvious about the issue of DV, but the fact that it came out of his mouth? That means millions of fans will hear what we’ve been saying for ages: That the louder and more often we speak about it, the closer we get to safety for women.

“I think anytime you talk about domestic violence it is going to have a meaningful effect, you want to eliminate that as part of society,” Sherman said.

Anytime we talk about it, yes. But during a sport game when various studies around the world suggest that DV is at a dangerous high? When men are in a relaxed, impressionable state? When hundreds of millions of eyes are on the TV screen?

Strangely, that might be one of our best bets to eliminate violence against women.

If you have experienced, or are at risk of domestic violence or sexual assault, you can receive help by calling 1800 RESPECT – 1800 737 732. If you are in immediate danger please call the police on 000.

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