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Campaign to call out sexism and disrespect a winner

December 4, 2019 / Our Watch media

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An innovative, online campaign aimed at encouraging bystanders to take action against disrespect and sexism has won a prestigious VicHealth award.

Our Watch collect the award. Seven people are standing on stage smiling at the camera.

The Doing Nothing Does Harm campaign, by Our Watch, used a series of short, interactive videos that recreated everyday situations and challenged the viewer to click “do something” when they saw sexism and disrespect towards women.

The campaign was highly effective, with 50 per cent of people feeling motivated to act in this kind of situation after viewing the Doing Nothing Does Harm ads. Evaluation data also found 54 per cent believed that the videos taught them how to respond if they noticed someone they knew behaving inappropriately towards a woman.

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said Doing Nothing Does Harm reinforced the message that we could all play a part in taking action against sexism and disrespect.

“Research tells us that disrespect and inequality create a culture where violence against women is normalised and accepted. Taking action to prevent this disrespect must be at the heart of the solution to preventing this violence,” Ms Kinnersly said.

“Words matter, and these everyday examples of disrespect that we all see all too often must be called out and challenged.”

“You can challenge disrespect in a number of different ways – with an eye-roll, by checking in with the victim if they’re present, or by telling the disrespectful person you don’t agree.”

The campaign calls on people to: show their disapproval, speak up, and support the victim.

Ms Kinnersly said the campaign, funded by the Australian Department of Social Services, was based on clear evidence and was the result of hard work from a highly skilled and motivated team at Our Watch.

Our Watch ran the Doing Nothing Does Harm campaign between October 2018 and June 2019. The campaign’s interactive videos revolutionised pre-roll advertising, reappropriating YouTube’s card button function and turning it into a way of intervening.

The interactive videos formed part of an extensive social marketing campaign, which included online and outdoor advertising, an interactive website, social media content, PR and ambassador activity, and training for primary prevention practitioners.

The VicHealth Awards have been celebrating outstanding achievements in health promotion for more than 20 years, with this year’s awards seeing a record number of nominees. Doing Nothing Does Harm won the Communications in health promotion category.

Media contact

Saraya Musovic, Senior Media and Communications Advisor (saraya.musovic@ourwatch.org.au or 0448 844 930) or Laurelle Keough, Media and Communications Manager (laurelle.keough@ourwatch.org.au or 0448 844 930) or media@ourwatch.org.au

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:
“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.


About Our Watch

Our Watch leads Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the structures, norms and practices that lead to violence against women and children.

Image: Our Watch staff members with Victorian Shadow Minister for Health Georgie Crozier (Source: VicHealth)

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