The San Jose Police Department is poised to roll out a series of public service announcements about domestic violence, but the ads come with a twist: a man’s point of view.
Some are calling the campaign groundbreaking while others worry it misses the mark.
The idea behind the PSAs, also sponsored by the YWCA and other agencies, isn’t just to raise awareness of domestic violence but to actually reach the men who really need to hear the messages.
Even if it makes some viewers uncomfortable.
The setting in each of the five PSAs are familiar ones, such as a gym, where advocates say comments and jokes among men about domestic violence often occur.
The scenarios in the ads, however, contain unexpected endings, with one man saying, "Anybody think that’s funny? Not funny."
"It is going to take men speaking up with their friends, their family members, within their workplace to really change the norms that keep this type of violence in place," said Amie McClane of YWCA Silicon Valley.
The PSAs also feature real police officers, including Steve Aponte, who lost his grandmother to domestic violence.
"The whole point of this is to show other men that it’s no longer tolerated, no longer appropriate," Aponte said.
But one PSA is being held for now because the bar scene and jokes got mixed reactions from those who previewed it. Some said it went too far and would make viewers uncomfortable.
The husband-and-wife leaders of The Alessandra Project, named after their daughter who was a victim of domestic violence, said the messages are about life and death and should be tough to hear.
"But imagine how uncomfortable my wife and I are and our family is," said Rick Beatty, president of The Alessandra Project. "That’s uncomfortable. You can stand to hear about this."
The police department and the other agencies involved are still reviewing the segment set in a bar. The other PSAs are being released publicly starting Thursday evening.