It’s the time of year when homes across the country are adorned with frightening imagery for Halloween. But homes in Montreal are depicting some far scarier real-life scenarios as part of a new awareness campaign by the Quebec non-profit La Maison Grise.
The organization, which provides support and services to women who are homeless, abused, or in difficulty, created the “Fear Windows” campaign in partnership with Rethink. It consists of decals depicting scenes of domestic violence that have been placed in the windows of approximately one-dozen homes throughout Montreal.
The decals show scenes that play out all-too-often behind the windows of seemingly ordinary houses.
One shows a man yelling at his wife as she cowers in fear, while another shows a man facing his partner with a fist raised above his head, and another shows a man with his hand clamped around his partner’s throat. Each decal features the message “Help us stop the horror” and directs to La Maison Grise.
“We wanted to shed a different light on the issue, and felt like Halloween was a great moment to achieve that,” said Mathieu Lacombe, associate creative director at Rethink. “The very small budget we had didn’t allow us to buy any outdoor media, so we used actual outdoor windows to deliver our message.” A video promoting the initiative (see it below) is also running on La Maison Grise’s social channels.
Acts of family and intimate partner violence have been steadily rising in Canada for the past five years, with a recent Statistics Canada report saying that more than 127,00 acts of police-reported domestic violence took place last year, with women and girls accounting for more than two-thirds (69%) of the victims.
In Quebec, one quarter of all crimes against individuals are linked to domestic violence, with women disproportionally bearing the brunt. According to the organization SOS Violence Conjugale, 12 women and six children in Quebec have lost their lives to acts of domestic violence since the beginning of 2022.
“This is why we must double our efforts to meet the sorely growing needs of victims,” said La Maison Grise’s general manager, Nathalie Lamarche. “Unfortunately, many of the femicides could have been avoided. By juxtaposing these scenes of domestic violence with terrifying Halloween decorations, we hope to draw public attention to the real horrors that go unmentioned.”