Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA) has launched a confronting advertising campaign aimed at highlighting the long-term affects of child abuse on over two million adult ‘survivors’ and a further eight million Australian community members.

The campaign is the first national television, print and radio campaign to address the topic of adults surviving child abuse.

The emotionally-charged advertisements include a wedding speech in which the father of the bride jokes about sexually abusing his daughter, a birthday party where a daughter reminisces about her 80-year-old mother’s emotional abuse, and an award night acceptance speech at which a Rugby player refers to his father as ‘the basher’.

In one of four print ads, a man wears a t-shirt that reads, ‘My uncle raped me when I was 8 and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’. While the scenes seem satirical, the tagline at the end of advertisements conveys the sober message: ‘If only it was this easy to get over child abuse’.

“Almost one in two Australians are affected in some way by abuse, yet few people are prepared to discuss its legacy. People assume adults can fix their own problems but with abuse it’s not that simple. Shame and stigma keep survivors isolated and stop them from speaking up and seeking the help they need,” explains ASCA Chair, Dr Cathy Kezelman.

“ASCA sees this campaign as the start of a national conversation amongst governments and the broader community. We want to let people know there is help available and that every Australian can and should do what they can to support survivors.”

Media agency OMD and creative agency Whybin TBWA Tequila developed the campaign for ASCA as a pro-bono initiative and has called on the support of their media partners for this very worthy cause.

David O’Loughlin, planning director at Whybin TBWA Tequila, believes that because of the sheer volume of cause related marketing communications alone, Australians have become very good at ignoring such advertising.

“They have become hardened and resistant to messaging, however important those messages may be. But child abuse is too important to be ignored, so we have built a campaign that is intentionally confronting, a campaign that is designed to break through Australians passive indifference and bring this issue to the forefront of public debate,” says O’Loughlin.

ASCA is one of few organisations helping adults surviving child abuse throughout Australia, an issue that is believed to cost Australians more than $10 billion annually, but does not receive ongoing government funding.