Saying it with flowers

NGO’s Tu Be’av campaign urges gov’t to combat domestic violence

MK Isaac Herzog at WIZO Tu Be’Av campaign, August 7, 2017. (photo credit: GITAM BBDO)
MK Isaac Herzog at WIZO Tu Be’Av campaign, August 7, 2017.
(photo credit: GITAM BBDO)
“There are some flowers no woman should ever receive,” declares a campaign slogan by the Women’s International Zionist Organization about domestic violence, which began on Monday.
The campaign was launched to coincide with the Jewish holiday of love, Tu Be’Av, a day when it’s customary to give women flowers. The slogan is an ominous reference to the flowers laid on the gravestones of women murdered by family members.
As part of the campaign, MKs and ministers were given flowers on Monday from the graves of women murdered by their partners. The initiative was carried out with the cooperation of the children of the murdered women, and in collaboration with the Families of Murder Victims organization, the Tizkor project and the Gitam/BBDO media company.
While most messaging surrounding the holiday is rose-tinted, WIZO provided a sobering dose of reality, highlighting that since the beginning of 2017, 18 women have been murdered by their partners – a record number when compared with the same period in previous years. In the past decade, 190 women have been murdered in Israel by family members, according to WIZO. Furthermore, there are currently 200,000 battered women living in Israel and about 600,000 Israeli children who have witnessed domestic violence.
In light of these harsh findings, WIZO sought to give sound to the voices of the murdered women in order to illustrate the extent to which a plan of action is needed that will promote prevention, education, legislation and punishment.
The purpose of Monday’s campaign is to promote the issue among lawmakers and to push the government to make it a national priority by allocating resources to combat the phenomenon.
“A moving WIZO initiative,” Zionist Union MK Isaac Herzog tweeted on Monday, along with a video of him holding a wreath. “Specifically Tu Be’Av, the Day of Love, is a day on which it’s important to raise awareness of the murders of women by their partners and to do our utmost to prevent the next murder.”
“In recent months, we have all been exposed to the shocking and painful headlines that covered the constant violence and murder of women in Israel, which motivated us to join the call for help from women’s organizations,” said Eran Nir, vice president of creative at Gitam/BBDO.
“In light of the wave of women’s murders this June, the newspaper headlines screamed and thousands of women took to the streets, but since then, additional women have been murdered, the public agenda has not changed, and no MK or minister is actively sounding their voice against the murder of women,” lamented WIZO chairwoman Gila Oshrat, describing the murder of women as “social terror.”
“To our great sorrow, instead of receiving flowers during their lives, our loved ones get them on their gravestones.
Unfortunately, the attitude of society and the legal system is still more forgiving to murderers of women who engage in cruel and prolonged terror than it is to other murderers,” said Lara Zinman, chairwoman of the Families of Murder Victims organization.
Among the campaign’s goals are: the full implementation of a program to combat violence against women, which has already been approved by the government and will cost an estimated NIS 250 million; the establishment of a national authority for the prevention and combating of domestic violence and violence against women; and the implementation of a national education program for the prevention of violence against women, from kindergarten through high school.