“A dad is a son’s first hero.”
This is the message at the end of the PSA, created by the production company Chirp Films, for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The minute-long ad tells the story of a young boy, who witnesses domestic violence in his home. Titled “Hero,” the short video is based on research that claims children who witness abuse suffer, even if they are not being directly beaten themselves.
The video begins with scenes of the boy and his parents building a large rocket ship in the backyard. His mother and father lovingly embrace each other on the couch, and the boy colors in the blueprints for the rocket. We then see him and his father bonding over building the rocket. Next, his mother begins suiting him up for space.
Then the film takes a violent turn. Scenes of his father beating his mother are juxtaposed between scenes of the boy getting in the ship and taking off to space. We realize that the fun he has been having with his parents is a fantasy, which he uses to escape from his daily nightmare.
Noah Conopask, the director of the film, has been in the photography, motion graphics, and design industry for over ten years. His work is cutting edge, and is praised for its power and emotional impact, which is clearly demonstrated here. He claims that the film is autobiographical.
“The boy is me,” says Conopask. “I had to make it. Children look up to their parents even if they don’t want to. I hope that I can inspire actions in those who may be broken or hurt and are acting in this way. I hope I can stir them to look at themselves and recognize what it is doing to their child, their family, and themselves.”
1 in 15 children children are exposed to violence between intimate partners each year, and 90 percent of these children witness the violence firsthand. These statistics come directly from the NCADV, who have made it their mission to be the voice for victims and survivors of domestic violence. The NCADV works to affect public policy, increase understanding on how violence impacts those affected, and provide programs and education that drive change.
Domestic violence affects children, from infants to teenagers. Babies are very sensitive, and are able to pick up on fear and tension, which can cause physical and mental problems that range from trust issues to stomach aches.
As children get older, their reactions could range from disrupted mental development to unhealthy habits or abusive behavior. Studies have shown that boys who grow up in abusive homes repeat this behavior into adulthood, while girls become the victims of domestic violence in their own relationships. This all has the potential to happen whether children are being directly abused or not.
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