An ad campaign from Bangladesh is highlighting the heartbreaking consequences of domestic violence.
The ad was produced by the Dhaka-based advertising agency Sun Communications for Jui, a hair oil company. In it, a young woman is at a busy salon for a hair cut. Luxurious long hair is a source of pride for many South Asians, so the salon employee is surprised when the woman tells her to “cut it short.”
The hair stylist tries a few different lengths, cutting the woman’s hair shorter every time, but the client isn’t satisfied with the results. In a surprise twist, the client subtly reveals the real reason why she wants her hair cut ― because it’s been used by an abuser to hurt her.
“Make it even shorter,” the woman said in the video, gripping her hair tightly next to her scalp. “So that no one can hold it like this again.”
The ad then shares a sobering fact about domestic violence in Bangladesh ― that every 80 of 100 women in Bangladesh face violence in some form or another in their lives.
“Hair, the pride of a woman. Let it never be the reason for her weakness,” a title text from the ad reads, before displaying a domestic violence hotline phone number.
Qazi Tushar, an account executive at Sun Communications Limited, told HuffPost that the ad was created for Jui for International Women’s Day. The ad has received more than 100 million views from around the world.
Tushar said that Jui set up a domestic violence hotline with the help of counseling psychology experts at the University of Dhaka. The hotline had existed before the advertisement aired, but calls reportedly starting picking up right after the ad was placed online.
“Our established toll free help line is taking in a good number of calls, every day, coming from different parts of the country,” Tushar said in a Facebook message.
A survey by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics in 2011 suggests that as many as 87 percent of currently married women have experience violence of some form from their current husbands.
The Sun Communications team hopes that the ad will encourage women who are facing some form of abuse to speak up and get help.
Watch the advertisement above.