If you’re addicted to Tik Tok (like I am) then you’ve probably seen the ‘viral’ domestic abuse videos.
The powerful and hard-hitting clips show women lip syncing along to Lily Allen’s Not Fair featuring lyrics such as “he treats me with respect” and “he says he loves me all the time” whilst covering up bruises or words such as ‘crazy’ and ‘abuse’ (written on their necks with eye-liner) with a foundation makeup brush.
Other Tik Tok clips show users pointing to text graphics on the screen to highlight various forms of abuse. Videos are all tagged with hashtags such as #financialabuse, #domesticabusesurvivor and #control.
If they aren’t already, domestic abuse charities should use this platform as a search engine. Typing in keywords such as #domesticabuse, #dvsurvivor or #financialabuse reveals a sea of Tik Toks that are being watched, shared and engaged with.
The hashtag #DomesticAbuse currently has 119.8M views on Tik Tok.
Tik Tok isn’t just for teens lip-syncing to their favourite songs. The platform is being utilised to convey important messages too.
During the Covid-19 lockdown period, a domestic abuse hand signal was being shared and used by women to alert their friends on video calls about the domestic abuse that they are facing. One such video was shared on YouTube by the Canadian Women’s Foundation and has since made its way onto Tik Tok. Source.
(The signal involves holding your hand up to the camera with your thumb tucked into your palm, and then folding your fingers down and trapping your thumb in your fingers).
There’s been a mixed reaction to these videos. Some people have said that users are just doing it for the likes and others are saying it’s the wrong way to raise awareness because the content is too graphic. Whatever the reactions have been, the content has definitely opened up a wider discussion about the issue.
The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a “shadow pandemic” alongside Covid-19. It’s thought cases have increased by 20% during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser. Source.
If you are experiencing domestic violence or someone you know is there are groups that can help. Refuge runs a free, 24-hour helpline on 0808 2000 247. Or visit the website.