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Hannah Hollenbeck
Ms. VanderSlik
26 October 2014
Not a Punching Bag
The Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence is an organization committed to
ending domestic violence in the state of Rhode Island. This group released a small series of ads
to support the cause of raising awareness for and preventing domestic violence. This specific one
features a black Everlast punching bag dangling in the image. However, its no ordinary
punching bag: its wearing an emerald green dress and swinging.The message this advertisement
is trying to display is rather clear once the viewer reads the phrase at the bottom of the ad, which
states It's not acceptable to treat a woman like one, in bold and large text, with the statement,
Most men agree, but few speak out. Please, be heard. A man's voice is an effective way to
change demeaning societal attitudes towards women, under it unbolded and slightly smaller.
This advertisement by RICADV expresses a hope to raise awareness for this cause, and promote
speaking out about it.

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This image is not one that would be easily looked over. The bright dress captures the
viewers attention right away. My attention was then drawn to the punching bag, for I was at first
rather confused as to why there would be a dress on a punching bag. As I was trying to process
this odd image, the words then grab my attention and I read them in hopes they will help me
understand the advertisement. They did not disappoint, the phrase printed at the bottom made it
clear the message was that women should not be treated like punching bags.Seeing this image
made me envision a man actually hitting a woman like she was a punching bag. This thought
made me feel disgusted that there are actually people in the world that treat people like that.
This image was produced in November of 2008 by the Belinki & Groggins Agency,
Providence, USA. Neither the RICADV or the Bilinki & Groggins Agency stated any actual
event or influence that led them to create this, nor did they state their purpose. However, if some
digging is done, there is a hint as to a statistic that might have been a possible influence on the
ad. A new government report showing huge increases in the incidences of domestic violence,
rape, and sexual assault over a two-year period in the United States deserves immediate attention
from lawmakers and the incoming administration, Human Rights Watch said today. (Human
Rights Watch: US: Soaring Rates of Rape and Violence Against Women) Its possible that the
increase in violence influenced the RICADV to take more action. The RICDAV website has a
page dedicated to their mission and visions, which is where the assumption for their purpose can
be found: We envision a society where domestic violence is not tolerated because communities
are enlightened and responsive to the needs of victims and their children. They want to spread
the awareness and make sure that domestic violence does not become a norm in our society.
The advertisement is moving, not only because of the message it portrays, but because of
the way it captures a viewers attention so quickly. The bright green color of the dress is used to

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draw the eye to it, and the bright yellow brand name behind it on the punching bag is easily the
second thing a viewer would see. The plain greyish background behind this scene makes sure
that the eye is not distracted from what the focal point really is. The punching bags chain starts
somewhere before the image, giving it the dangling affect, the flow of the dress also
compliments this part of the image. The text is placed under the image so its almost as if the
viewer is forced to look at the image before reading the text. The words are very thought and
action provoking as well. The line at the bottom of the ad seems as though its trying to persuade
the person reading it that if they say something, it will be effective way to stop domestic
The argument made in the advertisement is that women are more than just something to
beat up on. They are human, just the same as man. The argument is also that most men also
believe that domestic violence is not right, but many wont say anything about it. The persuasive
message being presented is to speak out about domestic violence.The image and text persuades
by making the viewer feel responsible for saying something, almost forcing action out of them.
Overall, my analysis of this image reinforced my initial reaction to it to an extent, but it
also was much deeper than what I had first assumed. I first assumed it was just to raise
awareness and to convince people to speak out against it. What I did not consider, however, is
the fact that it also convinces people that domestic violence is wrong. This seems obvious, but
what doesnt is the fact that, like I stated earlier, the ad is really saying that its not okay for
someone to treat a woman like anything less than what she is.

Works Cited

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