Red Door’s lullaby educates about domestic abuse

The shelter's post-Mother's Day campaign raises awareness for one reason its services need support.
Red Door Family

People who don’t fully grasp what victims of domestic violence go through tend to ask a pretty demeaning question: “why don’t abused women just leave?”

Red Door Family Shelter is providing an answer by highlighting just one of the prospects that makes doing so difficult: their need to stick by their children amidst perilous situations at home.

In its latest PSA, launched this week to follow Mother’s Day, the east end Toronto nonprofit captures the painful reality that many mothers face when deciding to leave an abusive partner, and amends the popular children’s lullaby, “Rock-a-Bye Baby” to tell the story.

(Content warning: the voiceover in this video features descriptions of domestic violence)

“Mother’s Day celebrates the unbreakable maternal bond that many mothers have for their children,” says Wanda Lougheed, interim executive director Red Door Family Shelter. “For many of us, the strength of that love is rooted in self sacrifice, which makes leaving an abusive relationship with children even harder.”

As Lougheed points out, telling women to “just leave” is not only unhelpful, but it also oversimplifies a very complex and very challenging decision that many mothers struggle to make without the necessary supports.

“We want people to reconsider the difficulty of this situation and to stop putting the onus on women to leave,” she says. “A big goal of this campaign is to give people enough perspective so they can start showing more compassion and understanding.”

The campaign, created by Camp Jefferson, is coming alive through wild postings, digital OOH, print ads in Toronto Star and some radio. Jungle Media did the buy side.

Mike Blackmore, CD at Camp Jefferson, says the relationship with Red Door is a new one, going back only a month or so. He tells strategy it functions as a fundraising pitch, but also to raise awareness of this important issue, helping women find new, safe lives.

The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness about the programs and support that Red Door Family Shelter has in place for women facing violence.

Since 1982, the Red Door Family Shelter has provided emergency shelter and support for women and children affected by domestic abuse, families experiencing a housing crisis, and refugee claimants. The organization has grown to become one of the largest family shelters in the city of Toronto, providing shelter and support to over 350 families annually. It also offers a food bank and children’s and moving programs.