During Game 2 of the playoff series between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers ran an ad depicting a man slamming his girlfriend to the ground when he saw she was wearing a Bulls T-shirt. In the next scene the woman had changed into a Cavaliers T-shirt, was holding an ice bag to her head and said that she was now a Cavs fan. This type of glorification of violent behavior as a means to show devotion to a team only increases the distortion between fiction and reality and fuels so much of the violence that we hear first-hand accounts of daily at the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline).
On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States -- more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year (1).
Every day, more than 1,100 people in crisis call The Hotline looking for a way to escape a violent relationship most of which are at the hands of their intimate partners.
The Cavs have since done the right thing and apologized while touting their support of the regional domestic violence prevention organizations, like Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center. However, the fact remains that the Cavaliers organization thought this was an appropriate and effective way to garner attention with their devoted fans.
Why, with so many calling for help each day, would anyone want to profit from violence against women? It is time for all businesses to be more thoughtful in the type of advertising and products they produce. And it is time for all those who attempt to use fictionalized violence against women as a way to gain customers through shock value to stop and realize they are further numbing our culture's perception of violence against women. Real lives, not fictional ones depend on it.
If you need help, or know someone who does, visit NDVH.org or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
Katie Ray-Jones, is chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. She is also a member of the National Task Force to End Domestic and Sexual Violence.