Anti-abuse ad causes online storm

salvation army ad

An image of a battered woman in a tight-fitting gold and white dress has triggered a social media storm in abuse-ridden South Africa and around the world.

The picture was published in local newspapers as part of a Salvation Army campaign highlighting the scourge of the abuse of women in South Africa.

The church group’s advert shows a blonde woman wearing a copy of the dress that recently generated a massive online debate as to whether it was white and gold or black and blue.

The woman wearing the dress in the Salvation Army picture has dark bruises visible on her face and body.

The caption reads “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?… One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”

With over 3,000 tweets in the space of an hour, the abuse picture went viral on Twitter, as users expressed different views about the message behind the dress.

The Salvation Army website said that within a few hours of its publication more than 16 million people had seen it via online media.

“Props (proper recognition)  to @SalvationArmySA for using #TheDress for a good cause. On #InternationalWomensDay,take a stand to end” violence against women, rights group @AmnestyWomenRts said in a Twitter message.

Although the message struck a chord among many in a country with one of the highest cases of domestic violence, others were dismissive.

“Still looks gold to me” wrote @nacran.

Salvation Army spokeswoman Carin Holmes said the church was “enormously encouraged that so many people on social media appear to be passionate about fighting the abuse of women.”