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“We’re over it”: Heartly House launches campaign to encourage bystander intervention

Written by on October 20, 2020

FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — Heartly House, the non-profit organization that supports victims of violence, is launching a new and direct campaign.

“We’re over it.” 

That’s the main message in a series of campaign images that call out behaviors that minimize or ignore violent behavior. 

“We’re never going to stop being that place to respond to trauma, but we want to start getting in front of it,” explained engagement and prevention manager for Heartly House, Jenn Metcalf Tousey.

Tousey says one of the most effective ways to address sexual violence is bystander prevention. 

“How can we engage the community to help up in this work? We know that bystander intervention is a piece that is so powerful and proven time and time again to prevent violence,” said Tousey.

The organization was a recipient of a $50,000 Maryland Health Department grant to develop and disseminate a campaign on the topic of domestic violence. 

With the funding, Heartly House teamed up with local marketing business Postern to create a series of four images and problematic responses to violence. 

One of the images shows a set of lips closed shut by a zipper, and beside it reads “zipping your lips?” “When you’re a kid, people say “zip your lips” or “mind you own business,” Tousey explains, “We want people to know that if you’re seeing something that doesn’t look right or if someone is harassing someone [else], that’s a time when you don’t need to mind your own business.”

The goal is to encourage bystanders and the public to recognize and speak up during instances of harassment and abuse. 

“If you’re not stepping in to help, you’re enabling someone else. That can be true of sexual assault, that can be true of domestic violence,” said Tousey. 

The campaign will continue through the summer of 2021. Tousey says next month, the public can see more of the campaign images on the exterior of local buses. 

For more information on Heartly House click here.

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