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article imageOp-Ed: Beauty salon ad a slap in the face to domestic abuse victims

By KJ Mullins     Aug 31, 2011 in World
This week bloggers discovered an ad from a Edmonton beauty salon featuring a woman with a black eye with the slogan, 'Look good in all you do.' The salon is now a boycott target of social media users.
In Canada 1.2 million people who have had a spouse, former or current, in 2009 had faced domestic violence. Between 2000 and 2009, there were 738 spousal homicides.
Two years ago Fluid Hair salon shot the ad that hints at domestic violence. The ad has been in place for over a year. Was the ad a piece of art as salon owner Sarah Cameron says or a campaign promoting domestic violence?
Cameron has released a statement about the controversy of the “Look Good In All You Do” campaign.
"In response to the recent controversy regarding one of the ads from our “Look Good In All You Do” campaign, we launched over the past year, we respect everyone’s right to their interpretation of what they perceive the message to be. Similar to music videos, works of art, media, books, the ads were our interpretation of a particular “art form” – we are a Hair and Beauty Salon – our business is to make people “LOOK GOOD”. Is it cutting edge advertising? Yes. Is it intended to be a satirical look at real life situations that ignites conversation and debate? Of course. Is it to everyone’s taste? Probably not."
Cameron went on to state that her city is Canada's murder capital. She also says that the media should be focusing on "dangerous areas, gangs, guns, other street weapons, or a sick justice system."
Cameron then states that if someone mentions the ad when they come to her salon they will donate proceeds from that visit to Edmonton Woman's Shelter.
"If survivors of abuse interpret this ad to make light of any abusive situation, we sincerely apologize, that was never our intent as there are people that worked on this campaign who are survivors of abuse. To the rest of you who this has so deeply affected, we truly hope you do something to help stop domestic violence. Truly honor the survivors that you are standing up for. Unfortunately boycotting a hair salon will not accomplish this," Cameron's press release states concluding with, "Media genre that promotes freedom of speech and expression only for themselves are hypocritical. Please interpret the ad as freedom dictates – that is your right – just as artistic expression is our right."
As a survivor of domestic violence the ad sickens me. Victims often are given a present from their abusers after an attack. Using that part of the violence cycle to promote hair services is a slap in the face to abused women.
Had the ad used a different slogan, one that stated no one should have to live in abuse, it could have been a benchmark for other businesses. Instead the message comes across that looking good despite abuse gives you a reward.
That message has been handed down from society for far too long. Religious organizations have told women to stay in abusive relationships in order to preserve the family. Law enforcement and the court system, in the past, told women that it had to be the victim's fault though their lack of legal action. Governments dragged their heels when it came to passing laws to protect the victims of domestic violence.
It's been a long, slow road in changing society's view on domestic violence. Abused women and for that matter abused men, have finally started to see changes that protect them. Still it's a slow change.
It's hard to 'escape' an abusive relationship. It took me 14 years and three escapes before I broke free. My personal story had no outward bruises, but my doctor knew from internal injuries. He stayed silent. Neighbours knew, they heard the loud verbal attacks. They were quiet. My son's pastor knew, I had confided in him. He told me to stay and work harder, be a better wife.
I received gifts after emotional attacks. It was part of the cycle. Attack, great times, attack. My story is the same as many.
Seeing the ad brought those memories front and center. I couldn't believe in this day and age there was no message of escape, no message that this was wrong. And that is why the media speaks out and social media groups shout boycott. Breaking the cycle means not being silent, it means shouting it from the rooftops that abuse is wrong. No gift from an abuser will justify their actions nor will any ad that appears to promote violence against anyone be tolerated by society.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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