‘The Dark Side’ campaign draws on violence affected women…

By Our Reporter

…and stressed men’s efforts to combat social taboos

A community supportline campaign is drawing on the violence affected women and stressed men who are seeking ways to continue living “a better life”, as COVID-19 is triggering a significant impact on our lives, requiring everyone to adapt in different ways.

Saru Rana, an international fame social activist from South Australia based this campaign on the idea to enhance community-led violence prevention action and commitment for women and children, further including support referrals for men who are emotionally impacted due to their current social and economic situation.

Saru, taking into consideration an arise in the number of domestic violence calls due to lockdowns or semi lockdowns and due to an increasing interest from women and men on addressing domestic abuse said, the community supportline acts for a step in the right direction.

There is a constant request for referrals by stressed men developing abusive behaviour requesting support to a range of services and an increase in class from women inclining to seek support in either recording or requesting resources to identify abuse or violence.

Relationship stress can take a toll on the strongest of bonds. When stress enters any relationship, it has the potential to create distance, disagreements and disconnection between partners. Rana believes, by supplying a steady supply of support couples in stressed, not only can teach how to deal with stress and relationships, but also create a new level of intimacy that actually brings people closer together.

As different kinds of violence have different causes and effects, this campaign is central focus to be successful in breaking the social stigma, with two stark posters produced introducing a Community Supportline for domestic violence victims, men combatting depression and whistleblowers that are coming forward to inform abuse and violence.

“We wanted to be as authentic as possible and use the simplest words that all can connect to,” the Founder of SHAMSHIR, Saru Rana, told us.

“Men get a message more directly from other men, because other men understand what the challenges are in being a man and being open and vulnerable, especially when it is a question from a man to another, and that’s where MensLine Australia fits perfectly providing the right pathway, resources and above all counselling,” said Saru.

“For too long, the focus has been on women and their situation. It’s still a knee-jerk response in a domestic-violence situation to say, ‘Why didn’t she leave? Why did she stay for so long?’ Men have been left out of this conversation for a very long time.”

Saru said it only makes sense to shift the focus to men as well, specifically those who had approached us to ‘help’ them to get their life back on track.

“As a society, we’re all too familiar with the tragic consequences of men’s violence against women,” she said.

“While we’re being approached that men need support too during these difficult times. We know that victims are more often women who suffer at the hands of men. Men’s violence against women is a men’s issue.”

Saru said, as a part of this campaign, people are encouraged to circulate the message to other social media sites and apps.

With an army of volunteers that are guiding and referring calls to national services, we are the first and only group that is providing such referrals and follow-ups through a Support Line, she said.

Saru said her group is keeping up with the demand for its services, which mainly include referring men and women with ‘ethical and cultural dilemmas’ to 1800RESPECT and MensLine Australia. ‘The Dark Side Campaign’s’ community supportline is also making communities aware that both national services continue to operate as per usual during the COVID-19 health emergency to support people impacted by family violence and abuse, and also for the ones that are stressed, distressed and feel anxious during these difficult times.

Given a large number of domestic abuse cases that could be coming in future, Saru and her team is welcoming calls 24/7, knowing the best way to approach this, is referring the cases to 1800RESPECT and MensLine Australia.”

Saru, in the past, had run international campaigns, and The Dark Side one of the its many initiative falls in the family of The Dark Campaign and The Dark Discussion against Sexual Assault, Family and Domestic Violence and Abuse.

The posters for this campaign can be seen as extremely debated, but behind every these layouts is a woman who is abused and a men requesting support. While I commend a man who seeks help when needed I can’t help but think we should be better aimed at correcting this problem before it begins. Target our youth, stay focused on justifying why violence is never an option, states Saru.

We need to teach not only young men, but young people in general that violence is never the answer. That strength can be just as equivalently proven through peace. That often in life it takes more strength to walk away peacefully than to turn around and fire back.

Those who abuse innocent victims, particularly children need to pay severe consequences. Yes, help and support is a much needed service, but quite often it is much too late for the innocent victims of these crimes to recover.

Abuse is not normal and never ok. If you are in a relationship with someone, you should feel loved, safe, respected and free to be yourself. And if your relationship leaves you feeling scared, intimidated or controlled, it is possible you are in an abusive relationship!

Saru is requesting all to come forward and “Suppress corona, not our voice.” She is also appealing community Radio channels as well as social media and the print media to share the word.

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