Last week, on Monday, April 18, 2011, the United Nations held a press conference to promote the work of the award-winning animator and producer Firdaus Kharas. No Excuses is a human rights campaign that features a series of 11 short animations (spots or shorts) working to prevent domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault around the world.
With April being Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention of Child Abuse Month, this timely launch offers 30 seconds of humorous animated “shorts” in 73 different languages. Each of the 11 shorts is scripted to address the most prevalent issues of domestic violence today, for example the power relationship between a man and a woman, or between parents and their children.
The animator explains: "The campaign focuses on the 10 most prevalent issues: preventing cultural justifications of violence: preventing abuse within marriage; challenging the perceived right of men to commit violence; and preventing the sexual abuse of women, among others." (Kharas, Cultureshift TV).
After another week of violence in the headlines, prevention-oriented campaigns likes Kharas’ cannot come soon enough. As Richard L. Davis ALM, an expert in criminal justice management writes in his article "The Tragic Toll of Domestic Violence", proactive public policy hardly exists: "Most domestic violence interveners and public policy makers provide little to no proactive intervention concerning domestic violence precipitated homicide/suicides. Perhaps it is time to consider more proactive interventions to prevent these types of homicide/suicides for potential victims and victim/offenders" (Davis, Policeone).
In addition to his views on the absence of proactive intervention, Davis criticises current intervention strategy with a report from the US National Research Council inferring that unless we address violence across all stratums of society in researching domestic abuse, we will remain limited in what we can prevent.