'We cannot end violence against women without addressing the cultural drivers which normalise and fuel it.'
November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It marks the first of 16 days of activism to raise awareness about male violence against women and amplify the global call to end it.
This global campaign, launched by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) in 1991, calls for action against one of the world's most persistent violations of human rights - violence against women.
During the 16 Days of Activism, people around the world will unite to raise awareness about male violence, challenge discriminatory attitudes and call for improved laws and services to end violence against women for good.
The focus of this year's campaign is a continuation of the 2021 theme 'Ending Femicide' - the killing of women and girls.
Joining the dots: Objectification linked to violence against women
In our more-than-a-decade of work to end sexual exploitation we’ve consistently highlighted the links between a culture which glamourises violence against women - in advertising, marketing, products, music and film - and societal attitudes which tolerate it. We cannot end violence against women without addressing the cultural drivers which normalise and fuel it.
To mark IDEVAW we've put together a collection of recent content challenging objectification of women in advertising, media and pop culture with the broader aim of ending violence against women. We've included some of our biggest campaign wins against corporates which have used exploitative, objectifying portrayals of women - even glorifying rape and murder - to sell products and services. We've also highlighted male violence against women as a feature inherent to the porn and sex industries, and our efforts to hold those who profit to account. And, we show how you can take action to help end violence against women.
Etsy - 'Choke me like Bundy' tee glorifies men's violence against women
We recently called e-commerce platform Etsy out for flogging a t-shirt which trivialised the crimes of serial killers Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Bundy was notorious for inflicting egregious acts of violence against women.
On top of sales of child sexual abuse material (including child sex abuse dolls) and products normalising incest and child rape, this tee further highlights Etsy's contempt for women and girls. Read about our 2 year-long Etsy campaign here.
Playboy owned sex store chain Honey Birdette is a long-standing, repeat corporate sexploitation offender. It routinely uses BDSM and 'fetish' porn themes in its shop window advertising.
From advertising imagery depicting models in BDSM-style lingerie brandishing whips, to sexualised images of women accompanied by words like “Cage” and “Bound”, Honey Birdette advertising not only promotes female submission, it is increasingly suggestive of violence against women. Read more here.
Last year, Honey Birdette ran this sexual choking themed ad which sent a dangerous message: strangulation is 'sexy' and something women desire.
Honey Birdette has been found in violation of the ad industry's Code of Ethics more than 60 times - most recently for a range of 'fetish' themed ads depicting women restrained with chokers, leashes and horse-bits.
Male "champions" for women host BDSM-porn themed ads in family shopping malls
After a years-long, multi-faceted campaign, we are STILL waiting on shopping centre CEOs - named "champions" for gender equality - to stop hosting Honey Birdette's porn style ads in their shopping centres. Read more here.
Earlier this year, we exposed global porn giant Playboy after it used a pornographic image of former Playmate, Star Stowe, to promote its new OnlyFans style porn platform, Centerfold.
Playboy failed to mention Ms Stowe's post-Playboy life as a strip club dancer and prostituted woman, or the dangers faced by women employed in the porn and sex industries. It has been estimated that women involved in street prostitution are 60 to 100 times more likely to be murdered than are nonprostituted females.
Ms Stowe was last seen alive stepping into a sex buyer's vehicle. The following day, March 16, 1997, her semi-naked body was found dumped behind a pharmacy. She had been strangled. These are inconvenient truths for a corporate pimp and pornographer whose business model depends on luring in more and more young women to pornify and sell.
Read more here.
Porn + sex industries: Inherent violence against women
Male violence against women is inherent to the porn and sex industries. Much of our work highlights this fact, as well as broader harms to women and girls living in a culture shaped by pornography.
Women harmed by porn-using men and sex dolls: New titles by MTR and Caitlin Roper
This year saw the release of two new books from the CS team - He Chose Porn Over Me by Melinda Tankard Reist and Sex Dolls, Robots and Woman Hating by Caitlin Roper - both published by our latest pledge partner, Spinifex Press.
Click here for a collation of their 'best of' interviews over the last few months - podcasts, presentations and news articles - about the contents of their new books which expose the real-world harms of men's pornography and sex doll use experienced by women.
"He used me like a blow-up doll" - Extract from @meltankardreist's new book “He Chose Porn Over Me” on Mamamia.— Collective Shout (@CollectiveShout) August 28, 2022
Read Florence's courageous account of abuse suffered as a result of her husband’s porn use>>
🔗https://t.co/vBAwSUPb3C #HeChosePorn #relationships #betrayaltrauma pic.twitter.com/xI86w6g6Gf
'Yes, the problem is porn'
In a recent blog post responding to claims that pornography in and of itself 'isn't the problem' - that we just need to shield children from it - Campaigns Manager Caitlin Roper wrote:
Porn is a significant contributor to intimate partner sexual violence and abuse. It is the graphic, sexualised depiction of male dominance and female subordination. It eroticises male aggression towards women. It is hate speech, anti-woman propaganda and sexual terrorism against women. It dehumanises women as sexual objects existing wholly for men’s sexual use and abuse. Porn is completely at odds with women’s dignity, humanity and equality.
Read the full piece here.
Educated by porn: Boys threatening girls with rape if they don't send nudes
Movement Director MTR was recently interviewed by news.com.au. MTR's commentary exposed the rampant, daily sexual harassment - stalking, assault and rape threats - experienced by female teachers and students:
Ms Tankard Reist said the most popular type of porn videos and content shared among young boys was “rape porn, torture and sadism”.
“And then everyone’s surprised at the behaviour of [these] boys,” she said.
“Why are you surprised?
“The global porn industry is the biggest department of education in the world.”
Read the full article here.
Mainstream media erases male sex buyer violence against women
Our major, joint investigation with Coalition Against Trafficking of Women Australia (CATWA) exposed how mainstream media promoted the sex industry as a viable (and desirable) career option for women during COVID. It also portrayed instances of men's violence against women as far removed from the inherent functioning of the industry, and disconnected from its commodification of women. Read more here.
In numerous submissions we have highlighted the interconnections between the sex and porn industries, and objectification of women in media and advertising, and violence against women and girls. We repeatedly urged governments and decision makers to prioritise women's and girls' safety over vested interests.
Recent examples include (click to read):
- Collective Shout welcomes new National Plan to end Violence Against Women and Children - urges specific action to address pornography as a driver
- Submission to the Department of Justice and Community and Safety: Decriminalising sex work in Victoria August 2021
- Submission to Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence Inquiry
- Submission to the Open Consultation on Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy 2021 to 2024 (UK)
Making headway: supporter action leads to campaign victories
Since our inception 13 years ago we've led dozens of successful campaigns, including:
- Calvin Klein gang rape billboards pulled down - read more
- Bakers Delight ad featuring tween girls, bound and gagged, gone - read more
- Melbourne BBQ company Boss Hogg forced to remove violent anti-women promo - read more
- Brisbane-based finance broker, Cat Mountain's racist, ‘gang bang’ and other porn-themed memes gone - read more
- “Dead girls don’t say no”: CharGrilled's pro-rape-necrophilia-murder-of-women tee pulled from sale - read more
- Video games promoting rape and violence pulled - read more here and here
- Wicked Campers torture, rape and murder of women slogans banned - read more here
These victories were possible because our supporters spoke out! And we still need your help.
There are plenty of corporates who continue - against all sense of social responsibility, human rights principles, community standards and conscience - to objectify women for profit.
See our newly released "Crossed Off" list for examples.
Join us as we highlight Collective Shout's advocacy and campaigning efforts in recognition of violence against women as a human rights violation.
- Like, comment and share our social media posts using hashtags #LetsEndFemicide #30YearsOfActivism #16DaysCampaign #CollectiveShout #EndSexploitation
- Sign Anna Cordell's petition calling on Etsy corporate heads to stop selling pro incest/child abuse merch here.
- Contact your federal MP and ask them to make sure promises of a proof-of-age system for online pornography are not derailed - learn more here.
- Sign the petition calling on Honey Birdette's landlord CEOs to stop hosting porn style ads in their shopping centres here.
- Make a tax-deductible donation to help end sexploitation here.
- Do you own a business? Sign up to become a corporate pledge partner here.