House of Ruth fights back against domestic violence

The tragedy of domestic violence against women and children is unfortunate, and occurs largely outside the awareness of the media and general public.

The tragedy of domestic violence against women and children is unfortunate, and occurs largely outside the awareness of the media and general public.

House of Ruth Maryland created a new photo exhibit titled “A Line in the Sand,” showing compelling images of the victims of such violence and those who fight on their behalf.

The organization hired Vitamin to help increase general awareness of and concern about domestic abuse throughout the state.

Strategy

Media outreach centered on one victim: Lisa Spicknall, whose husband shot her two children before staging a carjacking on a Maryland bridge. Her case drew widespread coverage both regionally and nationally, and the team knew it would draw attention, says Kerri Wojciechowski, House of Ruth Maryland's associate director of community relations.

The team also reached out to media and affiliate groups, such as the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, to line up more venues, she adds.

Tactics

Media outreach focused on arts and entertainment press, local press interested in particular individuals portrayed in the exhibit, and social columnists.

A speaking engagement with the Greater Baltimore Committee also helped spread the word about the exhibit among local civic leaders and businesspeople.

Results

Speaking engagements and affiliate outreach helped secure more venues to display the exhibit, including the US Department of Justice in Washington, says Amanda Karfakis, VP of communications for Vitamin.

“We hope that [from] this exhibit, people will pick up a newspaper and, when they see a woman shot by her husband, they will feel... outraged,” Karfakis adds.

Future

Originally slated to run through June 2008, the exhibit will now be displayed at various Maryland locations through June 2009, if not later.

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