Joe Public United Launches New Campaign For People Opposing Women Abuse


Joe Public United launched a gripping new campaign on behalf of client People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA) as the nation starts its 16 Days of Activism against the abuse of women and children.

The campaign calls all South Africans to break the silence around GBV and highlights the fact that while we battle the Covid-19 pandemic, another pandemic of gender-based violence rages silently in South African homes.

The campaign, titled the ‘Silent Pandemic’, kicked off on 25 November, with a shocking live news takeover on Soweto TV (Channel 251 DStv). As the female presenter read the headline news around Covid-19, her face appeared to become severely bruised as the appalling statistics of GBV in South Africa were revealed in titles: Since lockdown, calls to gender-based violence help-lines have tripled. This was followed by the call to action ‘Break the Silence. Pledge your support.’

Joe Public achieved this through the use of Spark Augmented Reality (AR) combined with other new technologies that enabled bruises and visual effects to be applied digitally to the footage through real-time face tracking. This allowed viewers at home to experience the newsfeed with the augmented reality effect during the broadcast. The horrific impacts of abuse unfolded before their eyes without the newsreader reacting – all highlighting the issue in a highly unexpected way that simply could not be ignored.

The multi-channel campaign will continue to break over the coming days in traditional media with TV as well as bolstered with public relations interviews. This will be further amplified in social media and paid digital media – harnessing the same AR technology to apply shocking visual effects to everyday women and even to celebrities, with a twist to be revealed as this campaign unfolds. All this happens as women (and men) take the pledge to break the silence, share it and actively call others to do the same to end the culture of silent ‘acceptance’ that perpetuates an abuse rate in South Africa that is almost five times the global average.

‘For communities to move towards bringing an end to this Silent Pandemic, we must tackle this ingrained culture of silence around GBV. Where people don’t report it and victims are made to feel that they are bringing shame to their family if they speak out, the phenomenon of ‘bro code’… there are so many aspects where GBV is silenced. It can’t be that we only expect victims to speak out when it is the extended behaviour around this issue that needs to change. We must tackle it at a broader level in society and create a new norm of speaking out against the abuse by every man and woman in South Africa,’ said Xolisa Dyeshana, Chief Creative Officer, Joe Public Johannesburg.

‘Beyond the call to break the silence, both by taking the pledge and by adding your voice with #SilentPandemic, we appeal to those who can, to please donate to POWA at Within the current climate this is more urgent than ever before,’ added Jeanette Sera, Counselling Services Manager, POWA.

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