I’ve spent a huge amount of time over the past two months preparing a marketing strategy for one aspect of fundraising for my documentary, “What About The Men? Exploring the Hidden Side of Domestic Violence.” One Saturday last month I sat in a West Hollywood hotel conference room learning about the differences between Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, GoFundMe and Patreon. Three months ago I was buying drinks at the Loews Hotel for a guy to explain to me the importance of a Twitter campaign and how to use a program called Hootsuite to do bulk uploads and scheduling of tweets and posts to Facebook and LinkedIn.
All of this is background research for a crowd-funding campaign I launched this weekend to raise $5,000 for my movie. If I had to look at it from the perspective of an hourly wage I’m thinking I’m somewhere around the wage I earned in high school working for Jack in The Box. But that’s not really the point of this exercise.
This crowd-funding campaign is more about awareness of the issue, than it is about making money. Clearly, because if it was money that I needed for this, I’d just go do my day job as a lawyer fighting over child custody and who gets what Tupperware. No this project is about learning how to do marketing in the digital age.
The skills that I have sharpened, the tools of the trade that I have learned, and am still learning, have been eye-opening and exciting. It’s been a great deal of fun, and the source of a good bit of anxiety, to prepare this campaign, from writing the copy about why I’m doing it, to actually pushing the button and sending the request out into the world.
It’s uncomfortable to be as visible as I need to be to raise this money and to say to people that I need your email address. This campaign has a mission; to raise awareness that men are being abused and no one wants to talk about it.
For example, within an hour of the campaign going live on Indiegogo, I had a former divorce client write to me that “I’d love to support you and share about how she used to abuse and beat me on my Facebook page, but my ex and I still have friends in common and I don’t want to embarrass her.” Now I did his divorce right here in Santa Monica, it was a messy, ugly, mudslinging divorce. His hesitancy to share on Facebook is probably not about his ex so much as it is about his not wanting to appear like a battered man to his friends. That’s why we need to make this movie – to reduce the stigma of men being abused.
The painful stories are coming to my email, people are signing up on the WhatAboutTheMen.Com website, and we are receiving donations through our Indiegogo campaign here: www.indiegogo.com/projects/what-about-the-men-the-hidden-side-of-dv/x/12113010#. If you go to the Indiegogo website and search for What About The Men, it should pop right up under Film.
Men across the country are opening up to me. I’ve received emails from retired Marines and police officers that came home to a wife or girlfriend who would wail on them. I have emails from average Joes sharing their pain and their loss. They took the pictures of their bruised and battered bodies, they sought help through the proper channels, and they got deafening silence.
When you watch the trailer on our campaign page, you will see three men with three very different personas, but very similar stories. The reason the stories are so similar is because the pattern of violence, the power and control dynamic is the same whether the abuser is male or female. They might abuse in different ways, but at the end of the day, the causes of abuse, and more importantly the long-term effects on the abused, are the same. Anxiety, hyper vigilance, lack of trust, loss of self-esteem, these are the results of abuse, and they affect men, women and children when they are abused.
I’m doing this crowd-funding campaign with the fiscal sponsorship of StopAbuseForEveryone.org a 501(c)3 whose name is their mission. Your donations of $5.00 or $500 are tax deductible and will go to help us raise awareness and help stop the abuse that is happening in the homes around you.
Please help put an end to the domestic abuse, even if you cannot donate please sign up on our WhatAboutTheMen.com website to follow us as we are on this mission to make this documentary, and make the world a better, safe place for everyone.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist.He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at email@example.com or 310/664-9969.You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra.