Explanation for serious faces in NO MORE campaign ads
Aug. 3, 2017 at 4:42 p.m.
Editor, the Advocate:
As the incoming board president of Mid-Coast Family Services and someone whose unsmiling mug will appear in that organization's hard-to-miss No More ad campaign, I wanted to reach out to Jose Contreras, whose letter to the editor appeared on the Viewpoints page July 29, to thank him for noticing the ads and recognizing the importance of not making excuses for sexual assault.
Mid-Coast was blessed that so many Victorians agreed to appear in the ads - these are visible people, folks you see around town at civic functions, social events, charitable endeavors, church and government meetings. But you don't usually see them with the grave expressions they wear in the newspaper. And, since you asked, Jose - why aren't they smiling?
Because dealing with an ugly reality like the high incidence of sexual assault in our community is hard, we're easily tempted to invent some narrative that let's us sidestep having that difficult confrontation. It's no laughing matter, of course, but neither are the excuses we make for it, because those are what allow it to flourish.
No More was originally a national campaign that used TV personalities and NFL players as spokespersons. The research that nomore.org did indicated that maximum impact flowed from delivering this message in an unvarnished and unsmiling way, free of any hint that there might be a way to feel better about the problem. There's not.
Mid-Coast found it was able to utilize nomore.org's exceptional work to get serious about outing attitudes that draw focus away from the problem. We are thankful for its help, and we'll smile again ... when there are no more excuses.
Lee Keeling, incoming board president, Mid-Coast Family Services, Victoria