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Reducing Domestic Violence

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Reducing Domestic Violence

In this, the age of technology and information we are all continuously being

bombarded by a non-stop stream of violent images courtesy of our televisions, radios and every other conceivable form of mass communication. Violent images such as those from the Columbine High School shootings of 1999, or more recently, from the attacks of September Eleventh. Images such as these are unforgettable, the sheer tragedy of these acts etches them permanently into our collective conscious. Sadly, as horrible and devastating as these well publicized tragedies are, their truly random and unpredictable nature makes them almost un-stoppable. The real tragedy in America today is that domestic violence not only effects more people in one year then were effected by September 11th and the Columbine combined, yet it gets no attention at all despite the fact that with a little awareness and public sentiment, domestic violence could be greatly reduced.

Domestic violence, as defined by the Office of Victims of Crimes (O.V.C.) is the psychological, or emotional abuse of one current or former intimate or family member by another. Victims of domestic violence suffer from a multitude of physical and mental injuries that can range from broken bones and bruises, to low self esteem and even death. In 1998 alone more then one million people were victims of violent crimes committed by an intimate partner. (Intimate Partner Violence Survey, Washington D.C. Bureau of Justice Statistics) On top of that in 1999, 32% of all female murder victims were killed by their intimate partner. (Crime in the United States 1999. Washington D.C.: Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2000) Despite these disturbing facts, domestic violence continues to be one of the most overlooked public health issues and epic social problems of our time.

As serious and overwhelming the task of reducing the domestic violence may seem, it can be done. First we must increase the publics awareness to catapult domestic violence firmly into the consciousness of the nation as a true social problem in need of action. Then we must stigmatize the act of domestic violence so negatively as to effectively increase the certainty and severity of punishment. The way we will accomplish these two proposals will be with one solution, a public awareness and add campaign. The proof of the power of add campaigns to mold public opinion is every where. The mere fact that advertisements surround us no matter where we are or what we are doing can be proof enough that advertisement works; after all do you think that any company would spend millions of dollars for a thirty second time slot during the super bowl if advertising didn't work?

It is no secret that the tobacco companies have been using the power of advertising to gain new customers for over a century. "A study conducted by John Pierce and his colleagues, found a correlation between increased smoking among 14-17 year olds and four major advertising drives by the tobacco companies since the late 1800s. This study also concluded that advertisement was a major influence on the rate of teenage smoking, even more so the peer pressure." (Lois Biener, Public Health, Management & Practice,May200,vol.6 issue 3 p40)

Advertisement has also been successful in the anti-smoking campaign. The state of Florida's "truth" campaign was instated to change teen attitudes toward smoking and thus reduce teen tobacco use. Since the beginning of the add campaign Florida has seen a 19.4% drop in smoking among middle school students as well as a 8% drop in smoking among high school students. (Zucker, Journal of Public Health, Management & Practice, May2000,vol. 6, issue 3, p.1 ) A similar study of the "truth" anti-smoking campaign in Massachusetts also concluded that "the television campaign has reduced tobacco addiction among teens in the state." (Lois Biener, Journal of public Health, Management & Practice, May2000, vol.6 issue 3, p.40) This evidence shows that a concentrated effort to change the attitudes and perceptions of teens using an add campaign was a resounding success.

Milk is a perfect example of the influential ability of advertisement. Generally the American public considers milk do be a healthy part of a balanced diet, after all It does a body good. The fact is, researchers have long been suspecting that there is a link between high risk of cancer and a diets that include lots of animal foods including milk. Recently a substance called IGF-I, witch causes human growth cells to multiply has been proven to encourage the growth of pre-cancerous cells. Coincidently dairy products including milk contain the highest source of IGF-I in the human diet. (Timothy Gower, Health Magazine, May2002, vol.16, issue4, p.66) And what about the hype concerning the all of the steroids that are given to dairy cows to allow them to produce milk all year round? There is no way that drinking that does a body good. The truth, as most physicians will tell you, is that milk does not posses any real and obvious health determents. Nor does it posses any real and obvious health benefits. And that's exactly my point, despite the lack of true health benefit's, the common perception is that milk is healthy, proof positive of the ability of advertisement to shape our minds.

It has been shown beyond a doubt that an add campaign could effectively influence peoples attitudes, actions and perceptions of the world around them. This awesome power of persuasion could be used in two ways to reduce domestic violence in America. First the add campaign would be used to increase awareness of the masses and alert them to the many detriments to society that could be reduced by stopping domestic violence; in effect the add campaign would act as the moral entrepreneur. After all, a large enough number of people must become aware of this social problem



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