Thursday, October 10, 2013

India's "Abused Goddesses" Campaign Opens Eyes

Buzzfeed had a post not too long ago about a deeply moving and fascinating PSA campaign about domestic violence in India. The organization "Save our Sisters" is working to bring awareness to domestic violence and help the victims. More than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. To put that in perspective, in the United States, the rate is 25%.

The ads say, 
“Pray that we never see this day. Today, more than 68% of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow, it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to.”
The advertisements themselves are incredibly striking and beautiful in a painful and sad way. The advertising company took traditional images of the goddesses and made a real-life recreation. They cover the goddess in bruises and cuts. The props in the pictures are either real or painted on.

The posters feature a phone number to report abuse.

As the Buzzfeed writer points out, this advertisement campaign directly addresses a contradiction in Indian society. They revere many goddesses, but the country remains unsafe for mortal women.

This contradiction can be found in other religious traditions as well. Speaking as a Catholic, I can point out the Catholic devotion to Mary and the Church's long history of social justice. Yet, domestic violence still occurs in some Catholic households.

Here are some of the ads:

Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, music, the arts, and science. 

Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth.

Knowing the subject of this ad, this is perhaps the most striking of all. Durga is a warrior goddess. She is representative of the victory of good over evil. I have a statue of her in my room (because I like to keep pieces of every part of my religious history). May she give the people of India strength to defeat the evils of domestic violence. 
For a better view of these ads, including close-ups of some of the details, visit the original Buzzfeed article.

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