Good fathers want what’s best for their daughters—a strong education, a loving family, a healthy life. But what happens when these same fathers tell sexist jokes to their friends or make disparaging comments about women in front of their sons? What is the connection between that behavior and the terrifying reality that one in three women will be a victim of sexual or physical violence in her life?
CARE Norway, a branch of the anti-poverty global confederation CARE International, addressed these questions in a new PSA, #DearDaddy that debuted on YouTube on Dec. 4. It’s narrated by a newly-born daughter dictating a letter to her father, in which she tells him about the dangers she will face during adolescence and adulthood. She describes growing up in world where micro-aggressions—small slights and jokes that seem harmless on their own—quickly snowball into major, un-ignorable aggressions. She explains that a culture that allows boys to make taunting remarks about girls being “whores” and “bitches” is what gradually creates acceptance of assault, rape, and battery.
It’s a powerful yet difficult video to watch: Accompanying the narrator’s words are re-enactments of violent situations, including a drunken assault at a party and a physical altercation between an adult woman and her boyfriend.
“One thing always leads to another,” the narrator says, before asking her father to “please stop it before it has the chance to begin.”
The video’s call-to-action encourages fathers not to let their sons call girls by hurtful names, and to not laugh at sexist comments made by friends or strangers. If such behavior is discouraged when it can still be classified as a micro-aggression, it may aid in preventing much more serious violations later in life.
“Dear Daddy, I will be born a girl,” the narrator pleads, in a heartbreaking conclusion. “Please do everything you can so that that won’t stay the greatest danger of all.”
Already, #DearDaddy is striking a chord in the hearts and minds of people across the globe. In the two weeks since CARE Norway uploaded the video to YouTube, it has garnered nearly 3 million views. To learn more about CARE International’s work to end violence against women, visit their website.