Making a Joke of Domestic Abuse on UK Greeting Cards? No Thanks!

This petition made change with 240 supporters!

Greeting cards are, as Card Factory (leading UK manufacturer / distributor / retailer) recognise on their website, 'ingrained' in British culture. That means they matter as a way of conveying wishes, marking relationships and - frequently - sharing humour. As such, sending and receiving a card is a small but meaningful cultural act. In the process of this exchange we confirm common ground. Cards have the potential for all kinds of positivity and in the main that's the effect they have. So far so good...

The problem is that Card Factory - an associate member of the Greeting Card Association of the UK - are currently selling a card that makes light of something that is far from funny: Domestic Abuse. In this specific case, serious physical violence by a man towards his wife. This is a reality that claims the lives of more than 2 women per week in England and Wales and blights the lives of many thousands more. This is not the fit subject for humour.

The card shows a man joking with male friends / colleagues:

Man: My wife had a near death experience last night?

Friend: What happened?

Man: She started vacuuming while the football was on!

Cue 'laughter'...? Definitely not if you are one of the many thousands of women living in - or who have experienced - controlling and violent relationships. For these women this card would underline how their abuse is often hidden, made light of, dismissed by the culture at large. 

There are undoubtedly victims/survivors of domestic abuse and coercive control within the ranks of employees at Card Factory and of course many, many more amongst their customers. There are also perpetrators - men who take the lack of cultural challenge of their beliefs as a green light and see every 'joke' about domestic abuse (and rape/sexual assault similarly) as tacit normalisation. This needs to be addressed urgently by us all.

We are optimistic that the design and retail of this card is an unconscious error, currently lacking a few moments' appropriate reflection, and is something that Card Factory Directors would wish to put right immediately in the interests of corporate responsibility for workforce and customer well-being. 

After all, a company that can be so proud, on its website, of its generosity towards MacMillan Cancer Support is demonstrating that it puts a value on human relationships and well-being. The aim of this petition is to help make that consistent and tangible from every perspective.

Thank You

Michael Conroy


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