SHERIDAN — The Advocacy and Resource Center has rolled out a locally produced advertising campaign that uses positive images to promote healthy family values.
Rhonda Weber, victim advocate at the center, said she noticed a lot of negativity in most advertising that’s pre-made for centers who deal with victims of violence, and she questions its efficacy.
“We wanted to do this because we have a huge closet full of posters, and every single one of them is sad. Every single one is a teenager who appears as though she’s just been raped, or an elderly person crying or a child with a bruise on her face,” Weber said. “Most people, when they see those posters hanging up, they don’t even want to look at them. Unless they relate to them, the message isn’t there for people who may need it.”
Weber said negative images often bring people down or drive them away all together.
“All the negative posters, to us, had negative responses. We didn’t feel comfortable with that,” she said. “We didn’t want people associating our center with negative feelings or victim blaming. Instead, we wanted to make a positive poster, a positive response to our center and the way we want to raise awareness about relationships.”
The Advocacy and Resource Center’s new campaign is a series of posters with headline text reading, “A Healthy Relationship Is…,” followed by words and photos targeted to describe ideal domestic situations. For example, one poster reads, “A Healthy Relationship is Learned,” and below, there is a photo of a mother and child.
The center’s home-grown ad campaign comes from the community in two ways. The descriptive words for healthy relationships come from people throughout the community, and area residents are depicted in the photographs.
Weber said not only does she hope the new campaign will change the paradigm of victim assistance from negative to positive images, but hopefully, it will also affirm the center helps people in all kinds of relationships, to include friendships, family and partners.
“We really try and promote healthy relationships, healthy living and nonviolent families,” Weber said.
The ads created by the Advocacy and Resource Center can be seen in poster format at various Sheridan businesses and in local media.