Local domestic violence commercial drawing national attention - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Local domestic violence commercial drawing national attention


DUBUQUE (KWWL)-- A controversial commercial airing in the Tri-States is getting national attention. A non-profit agency that works with those affected by sexual assault is receiving threats after some of their commercials, broadcast to several counties in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, were deemed offensive and inappropriate. Now they are speaking out about the commercials, hoping to start a conversation.

But the commercials aren't new. They've been airing for almost a year. Last weekend they got more attention, after a bingo game asked questions about the message of Super Bowl commercials.

When Josh Jasper put this Riverview Center BINGO game in last Friday's paper, he had no idea it would go viral.

"Let's take a look at the difference commercials that are taking place within the Super Bowl. I mean people are spending millions of dollars for 30 second spot," Jasper said.

The games asked viewers to watch for commercials that promoted violence, abuse, sexual jokes or degrade women. The word spread across the country and the BINGO game grew in popularity. In the meantime, it drew hundreds of people to Riverview's web site. Where viewers will find two thirty second commercials that have been airing on cable channels in the Tri-States for more than a year.

"The concept behind the commercial was really simple and it's really towards Riverview Center's vision in creating a community free of violence and that violence is a learned behavior," Jasper said.

Each commercial challenges everyone to change what it means to be a man.

"Before this past weekend it has been nothing but positive. A lot of people throughout the country saying this is a very strong message, this is a very necessary message," Jasper said.

But the tables turned after the big game. Jasper received hundreds of e-mails and comments on the YouTube page, including several threats too inappropriate for this story.

"I'm certainly not saying or generalizing that all men are violent. That's quite the opposite. What I'm trying to do and what we're trying to do is empower the community and say 'this is not okay'," Jasper said.

He says the point of these ads aren't to target men or offend anyone. He just hopes the controversy starts a conversation.

"In our world of violence prevention, it's actually quite simple. And really what it boils down to is we need people to be a healthy role model," Jasper said.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Iowa Men's Action Network released a statement of support for the commercials: "The video in question may be taken the wrong way by some, but this should not detract from the fact that rape is far too common in our communities and that the mission and purpose here is to eliminate it."

You can find a link to the commercials here.

If you'd like to hear Josh Jasper's story CLICK HERE.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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