This Shocking Ad Is Using the Viral Power of #TheDress for an Important Cause

While the viral #TheDress phenomenon that dominated the Internet last week has mostly been discussed in terms of fashion, celebrities and neuroscience, it's now being put to use for a higher cause: domestic violence awareness. 

The South African Territory Salvation Army released a powerful PSA on Friday that compares the debate over visibility at the heart of #TheDress to that central to domestic violence. "Why is it so hard to see black and blue?" the PSA asks. "The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in 6 women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women."

The campaign harnesses the concept of illusions popularized by #TheDress to point out the way in which our culture has a skewed perception of domestic violence. We often blame survivors for the ways in which they are abused and further question why they stay with abusive partners and, in doing so, defer to the most superficial information available to us rather than account for the complex dynamics involved in abusive relationships.

As AllAfrica reports, "According to the World Health Organisation, 60,000 women and children in South Africa are victims of domestic violence every month. The country has the highest incidence of domestic violence in the world — and those are just the cases that are reported."

Hopefully, the Salvation Army's innovative use of this now iconic symbol will go as viral as the original.

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Julie Zeilinger

Julie Zeilinger is a staff writer at Mic as well as the founder and editor of The FBomb (thefbomb.org), a feminist blog partnered with the Women’s Media Center. She is also the author of "A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism Is Not A Dirty Word" and "College 101: A Girl’s Guide to Freshman Year."

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