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#TheDress Is Back, But This Time With A Powerful Purpose

Whether you saw it as blue and black or white and gold, chances are that you saw #TheDress last week and had some THOUGHTS. Taylor Swift weighed in, this dude got a tattoo, everyone on your Twitter feed freaked out. Most people enjoyed the fun of the mystery, skimmed through the scientific explanation, texted their friends about it, and then—as is the case with all good memes—moved on.

But today, The Dress is enjoying a second turn in the spotlight...and this time, it’s for an incredibly powerful reason.

The South African branch of the Salvation Army released a new ad campaign educating the public about domestic violence, and chose to feature The Dress as a way of attracting attention to a difficult and dangerous problem.

Featuring a woman wearing a white and gold version of the dress, the tagline “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?” highlights the fact that her face and legs are covered with visible bruises and cuts. It’s a painful and graphic reminder that one in six women are victims of abuse, and that we live in a culture where all too often, we blame the victim rather than the abuser.

If you or someone you know is experiencing relationship abuse, please head to Love Is Respect.

The original post by the South African Salvation Army has now been RT’d 5.5K times, and a new post by the same creative team has just been released, featuring a woman applying makeup to her bruised face with the tagline “Because they cover it with white and gold.” (FYI: The entire concept was the brainchild of South African ad agency Ireland/Davenport, who offered the entire campaign to the Salvation Army for free and created the images in less than a day).

We already know that internet memes have the power to make us laugh, to make us feel connected, to find common ground among thousands of strangers across the globe. But memes can also allow us to focus that attention on an incredibly powerful and important message.

Whether you see The Dress as black and blue or white and gold, we can all agree that domestic violence is a huge problem, and that focusing the spotlight on the issue is an important step toward finding a solution.

For more information and vital facts about gender-based violence, including dating violence, head over to Look Different.