Let's talk about sex(ual violence against boys).

Sexual violence against boys happens far more often than people generally assume. An estimate of 20.000 boys in the Netherlands alone are being victimized on a yearly basis. Amsterdam-based organization Qpido fears that the actual number is much higher. That is why they asked us to create an awareness campaign about this subject, offering help to teenagers in need of (professional) help and guidance. We were responsible for the creative concept, the production of the video (with our partner Bruut Amsterdam), the website and the social media campaign.


Qpido Amsterdam


February 2017


Awareness campaign


Organizations struggle to reach out to teens that are being victimized. Sexual violence has the word ‘taboo’ written all over it. It’s considered uncool to talk about it. Teenage boys experience shame and sadness, some even feel that what they’re experiencing is their own fault. This accounts especially for boys. All the more reason to start reaching out to them, stirring things up with a tough reality check. So we went to the drawing table and did our research. We needed to find the common denominator for young adults. The idea for #GEENZIN (‘I don’t feel like it!’) was born out of the rebellion teens experience.

It’s normal for teens to have hard feelings towards obligations and expressing them (I’m sure you remember saying: “I don’t feel like cleaning my room!” at some point in puberty). Naturally, there’s a thin line between doing ‘normal’ things you don’t want to do, and being forced to participate in sexual activities. Even when it’s grey area (i.e. when someone makes you watch porn against your will). Especially in teenage years, it can be hard to set boundaries for yourself and others. Even recognizing abuse can take years.

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The campaign creatives

The concept was executed in a video and campaign creatives. The video speaks for itself. We wanted to balance the video so that it would appeal to teens and build suspense without amplifying the plot at the end. That’s true for real life as well: you often don’t recognize sexual violence until it’s too late. The campaign images aren’t alarming when you see them without the copy. The copy is meant to evoke a response.

The situations in the campaign visuals are based on research. Offenders are relatives or family friends 9 out of 10 times. Also, many young boys are being assaulted via the internet. Grooming is becoming more and more common. The visuals were incorporated in website click posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Did it work?

The campaign was rolled out on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube and it was targeted on teenage boys and parents in Amsterdam and cities nearby. #GEENZIN reached 956.730 people. The video was viewed 408.000 times. And most importantly: people talked. 764 people commented on the content and 290 people shared the video.

We hope many people discussed the subject at home too, but as you are well aware that’s something we can’t measure. Parool and AT5 both paid attention to the subject. The actual number of people reached by #GEENZIN is expected to be higher. All in all, it was a great first step towards ending sexual violence against boys.

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