In a public service campaign for UN Women, MullenLowe New York and Mediahub have launched an exposé on legal gaps, one of the key prevention measures needed to end violence against women and girls around the world. As violence has increased against women during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an additional 15 million women are expected to be affected by violence for every three months the lockdown continues, “The UNseen Story” uses censored images that are shocking to imagine, with copy that is unapologetically outspoken, to create visceral reactions to the different forms of violence that women face.
The ad campaign is rendered through a set of stark pixelated images and headlines, including “This is a photo of a man beating his wife,” that would never be appropriate to show publicly. “This is a photo of a man raping his wife” is paired with a pixelated image that would be against government regulations to air on broadcast news. “This is a photo of female genital mutilation” with an image that is blurred and unidentifiable, forcing the imagination to conjure what happens to women and girls in many parts of the world. While the images shown in the campaign were created from scenes of a nonviolent nature and were not produced from images of any individuals experiencing violence in any form, the effect they create when pixelated and juxtaposed with the headlines is thought provoking and deeply impactful.
The launch of the campaign coincided with 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.