From Alex to Everest - 6 August 2014

A campaign in Central Otago has made the most of media contacts, radio spots, a workshop and T-shirts to get the word out about psychological abuse.

Philippa Winter, Family Violence Regional Coordinator at Jigsaw Central Lakes, says the network wanted people in Central Otago to understand that psychological abuse was not OK.

"We identified that in the Central Lakes region we were working with a lot of people dealing with psychological abuse — husbands, children, wives, partners.

"They didn't realise it's abuse too. We wanted to get it out into the public that abuse is not just the things they think of like child abuse and violence."

Exposure for psychological violence

Philippa asked Tracey Roxburgh, a friendly reporter at the Queenstown Times, for advice on getting the word out.

Tracey suggested a series of stories based on interviews with people who had T-shirtsexperienced different types of family violence such as child abuse, elder abuse and psychological abuse.

With the help of Jigsaw in finding people willing to speak anonymously, the Queenstown Times ran a nine-part series in 2011. Each story had details on how to get more information and help.

Some stories were also picked up by the Central Otago News and a final full-page story gained even wider exposure when it was printed in the Otago Daily Times.

Radio ads

To complement the newspaper articles, Philippa also developed five short radio spots with a variety of voices, playing five times a day, three times a week for seven months.

MediaWorks, recognising it as a valuable community project, heavily reduced its fee.

Inspirational stories

The feedback from the community was very positive, says Philippa.

"They were good, well-written articles. They were easy to read. They weMartin O'Malleyre factual and they had impact. People still talk about them.

"We've had people come in with the banner ad from the bottom of the article. One lady read the article, carried it around with her and then came in.

"People have said, ‘I read the articles and it made me think.' We've had people ringing up to talk because of the articles."

Inspired by the articles, Queenstown man Martin O'Malley chose Jigsaw as his charity of choice and wore an It's not OK T-shirt when he ran the Mt Everest Marathon, the world's highest marathon. Martin still takes part in extreme runs, where the T-shirt draws comments about family violence.


The network also organised workshops that responded to particular community needs. One was a two-day workshop on Family Court processes and parental alienation. Speakers included Judge Peter Boshier, the Principal Family Court Judge, Judge Dale Clarkson and psychiatrist Dr Hugh Clarkson.


T-shirts and posters were printed with slogans written by abuse survivors such as:

  • I have to ask for money and account for every cent.
  • He is making me think I'm crazy. I get put down.
  • Their way or the highway.
  • Pushing, shoving, pinching, punching.
  • I didn't like where I was touched.
  • I get pressured into doing things I don't want to.


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