A Facebook campaign designed to help people suffering domestic abuse has received praise and opprobrium in equal measure.
The Black Dot Campaign aims to highlight the issue of domestic violence and has so far received 40,000 ‘likes’ and its founder – who wishes to remain anonymous – says Facebook statistics show the page has received millions of hits.
The campaign seeks to offer victims a silent signal for help through a black dot on their hand that more and more people will recognise as the cause goes viral.
Six days after launching, the campaign posted this on its page: “If you saw someone with a black dot on their hand, what would you do?”
However, the campaign has drawn criticism from some organisations, saying it could do more harm than good.
‘2 women a week killed in England and Wales’
Sandra Horley, chief executive of domestic violence charity Refuge, told ITV News: “We are concerned that the Black Dot campaign has become very public and well known, so therefore it may be dangerous for some women if they take part.
Horely said women using the dot could unintentionally inform their abuser that they are trying to reach out and access support.
She added: “This could have grave consequences – two women a week are killed in England and Wales by a current or former partner; 70% of domestic homicides occur at the point at which a woman separates from a man.”
Explaining her reasons for starting the campaign, its founder told BBC Trending: “I imagined it as a tool to start face-to-face conversations between friends, or with professionals. I was basing it on my experiences and I was thinking, how could I prompt people to talk about domestic violence?
“A black dot is easy to make, and easy to erase. As a female, you could go to the toilet, draw one on with mascara, and then later wipe it out. Being in the centre of your palm, you could close your palm and hide it from view.”
‘Just because you’re a victim doesn’t mean you’re stupid’
Reacting to the concerns voiced by many of the dot sparking abuse if discovered, she said victims would know what triggers their abuser and would be smart enough to avoid making the situation worse.
She concluded: “So if it’s not safe to draw a black dot, don’t do it. Just because you’re a victim doesn’t mean you’re stupid – you know yourself what is safe and what is not safe.”
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