Either on purpose or by accident the hashtag #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend might well do more for the issue of domestic abuse than any print or TV ad campaign.
(So as not to get side tracked I’ll try to focus on what I think about the mechanics of this rather than my own views/moral standing on domestic abuse.)
As I’m not yet aware or the origin of this hashtag/trending topic I can’t be sure if this a campaign or entirely natural. If the origin of the trend was purposeful it communicates what organisations have been trying to get across for years: that domestic abuse is real, it does go on, and some people in the world accept it and might even be proud of it. If it’s natural, and someone genuine thought this was funny or a serious topic they believed in, then (via Twitter) they are exposed to a barrage of negative reaction from people publicly condemning such an arrogant and casual comment on the issue.
It was most interesting how cleverly this provoked opposing sides of the argument. In particular the wording; the ‘reason to’ has been successful with hashtags as they allow users to chip in and provide their own reasons. It also provides no real clarity about the intentions of the people who initially used the hashtag which raises a lot of questions:
- Do they have reasons?
- Is it bait?
- Do they want people to just say ‘there are no reasons to beat your girlfriend?
- Will people actually publicly respond with reasons?
- Will they be joking or will they mean them?