Learning to recognize “Mr. Nice Guy”

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“I don’t know why women stay in abusive relationships. They should have known what they were getting into.”

“Why is she still with that horrible man? Why doesn’t she just leave?”

We have all heard these types of comments. Understanding why someone batterers a person they supposedly loves is complicated. It often becomes easier to blame the victim than to understand, let alone to hold a batterer accountable.  Abusers are often very capable at manipulating their victim to believe the abuse is their fault. And abusers can also be equally capable in hiding their abusive tactics and behavior from others, therefore creating surprise and disbelief when the abuse becomes known.

Our new awareness campaign by focusing not on abused women or children, but on the abuser. Who he is. And how incredibly manipulative he can be. It also lets people know they can come to HAVEN when they need support and a fresh start.

The TV spot is chilling. The print, digital and out-of-home executions use strong words to show the transformation of loving words to frightening threats. Each medium demonstrates the ability of someone who starts out treating a partner well to quickly turn and put her at risk of continued violence and possibly even murder.

The campaign was developed by Lowe Campbell Ewald in Detroit, an advertising agency that’s been helping us with education and fund-raising efforts for 15 years. They also negotiated with many generous local media channels who donated time and space to getting the message out.

This is strong stuff. But it all stems from the brutal realities of the abuser and his effect on the abused. Every ad ends with the message that HAVEN is a place where they can seek refuge and gain the support and the confidence they need to walk away from their abusers. For many, their lives depend on it.

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