Domestic and sexual violence are insidious problems. They are largely hidden by a range of means, and yes, one of them is that victims are frightened to speak up. Domestic violence has increased throughout the world during lockdowns. Independent creative and social impact company, GentleForces, has teamed up with the No More Foundation and intergovernmental organisation, the Commonwealth Secretariat, in a pro bono initiative to bring the 54 member countries of The Commonwealth together to tackle the rise of the problem, while also urging leaders to make prevention a top priority in rebuilding efforts.
The initiative, #JoinTheChorus, calls on the power of people working together. It asks leaders as well as everyday people to do take action within their own communities. People “minding their own business”, “not interfering”, “not being approachable for victims” and “not being receptive to victims’ stories” have formed a huge stumbling block in the past. #JoinTheChorus launched during the 2021 UN General Assembly (UNGA) session, with a series of animated films starring FKA twigs, Rose Byrne, Jocelyn Dumas, Mahira Khan and Thandiwe Newton. Each of the films is a retelling of the fable, The Flock, the story of a bird that gets stuck in a tree by a perpetrator of violence and can only break free with the help of her entire community of birds.
The initiative’s launch is due to the efforts of more than 80 volunteers from cross-industries, including brand, creative, design, animation, film and entertainment.
The campaign is part of the Commonwealth’s Says no more initiative and will include tools to governments, non-government organisations and the public. Each of the member countries’ leadership will receive a toolkit to guide their ongoing efforts in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 5 for gender equality, especially the elimination of violence against women and girls. No More Foundation will provide the action guide for everyday people.