MONTREAL —; It’s a simple message: “Never, ever lay your hand on a woman.”
Bruno Heppell, Georges Laraques and Chris Nilan have come together in a new public service announcement to condemn violence against women.
The campaign was led by the Shield of Athena, a nonprofit organization that helps battered women and children rebuild their lives. Global Montreal also played a part —; its creative team helped produce the video.
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“We want to have men involved in the fight against violence against women, so this is extension of that,” said Melpa Kamateros, Executive Director of the Shield of Athena.
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The PSA was unveiled at the Guzzo Theatre Marche Central. It will be broadcast in both French and English before every movie, and at all Guzzo cinemas.
“I thought it was important, since my son’s first date was in a movie theatre, I thought – ‘How interesting would it have been if, right before going on that date, he would be reminded of the respect for women?’,” said Vincent Guzzo, C.O.O. of Guzzo Cinemas.
Earlier this week, a similar message aired during the Superbowl:
On Tuesday, Nilan, Laraques, and Heppell said it was especially important for them, as athletes, to get involved.
“We come from sports that are violent sports, and to be able to send that message: ‘Listen, sports are sometimes violent, but in society, in the homes, there’s no place for that violence,’” said Nilan.
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The Shield of Athena estimates that behind every four doors, there is a victim of family violence.
“We don’t know, unfortunately, what’s happening behind closed doors, and with this PSA, we want to open those doors and for people who need the help to come out and say ‘I’m a victim, please help me,’” said Kamateros.
“It touched my family at one point, and I hope people start thinking about it,” said Heppell.
“You have to stop thinking it’s only happening to other families, or other neighbors. That’s not the reality, that’s not my reality.”
Provincial statistics estimate that 17,000 women are assaulted every year in Quebec.
“I hope that someone, when they see it, the buzzer goes off in their head, and they realize that yeah, you should never ever put your hands on a woman,” said Nilan.