One People's Project
A video produced by the National Domestic Violence Hotline(NDVH) and the Verizon Foundation that brings awareness to children living with domestic violence is being attacked by an obscure group as being “anti-father” backed by a Black conservative organization whose founder in the past has defended a book that advocated men striking women.
According to the NDVH, the video titled “Monsters in the Closet” was created in response to studies that suggest up to 10 million children witnessing some form of domestic violence each year, boys who witness family violence being more likely to batter their female partners as adults, and girls who witness their mother’s abuse have a higher rate of being battered as adults. However a group called the National Coalition for Men (NCFM) have mounted a campaign against the video based on their perception that it is actually calling men “Monsters”. On Dec. 10, a small group of fifteen persons rallied outside Verizon’s offices on of 26th Street and Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica, CA demanding that they pull the “ad”.
The (NCFM) is an obscure organization that has a history of defending male batterers under the auspices of defending men against assaults by women. In 2009, they defended R&B singer Chris Brown after he was arrested and charged for assaulting his then-girlfriend and fellow R&B singer Rihanna, by asserting that she hit him first. “Her violence should not be ignored, and if she does not ‘woman up’ to it then her message will be the usual one-sided double standards that leave female perpetration covered up," they wrote.
Rihanna has never been charged with a crime, but Brown was sentenced to five years probation, 180 days community service, and fines.
The NCFM was joined by Jesse Lee Peterson of the black conservative organization Brotherhood of a New Destiny (BOND). Peterson is a regular on Fox News, and is known for making incendiary comments about African Americans ranging from how most were “wicked” and thanking God for slavery which brought kidnapped Africans to America. In 1990 he defended a controversial book written by Black author Shahrazad Ali where it advocated men, in dealing with a woman with whom they are romantically involved with being disrespectful to them could "offer her an open-handed slap in the mouth." On a Donahue program at the time, Peterson blamed welfare for creating a situation where the black woman thinks she is superior to the black man, and that "What Ali is stating in the book is right on the money."
In an emailed press release last week, Peterson declared that Verizon “has pulled the offensive ad” following the protest, and the NCFM alerted supporters that the ad may “surreptitiously distribute the ‘Monster’ video through means other than the Internet.” Ironically, BOND’s email included a link to the video doctored with the caption “Verizon Scares Little Girls” which was uploaded onto YouTube by a person using the screen name “noneedforawoman”.
In an email to One People’s Project, the Verizon Foundation, who for the past ten years has supported hundreds of different groups focused on helping community members regardless of gender or age dealing with domestic violence, said that the Monsters in the Closet video was not an ad but an awareness piece simply created to put the focus on children living in a home where there is violence. “Those who attempt to create controversy about this video are missing the point,” the email read. “Domestic violence is a very serious issue affecting too many people. To understand how many people are affected by domestic violence, one need only read through a report issued by the (Center for Disease Control) this week...This is a tragic, complex, and multi-faceted issue that needs to be brought into the light and that is the sole purpose of the video. “