900 Signatures and Rising
Just over 2 weeks since the start of our petition to invite Benedict Cumberbatch to become The Pixel Project’s 4th and final Male Role Model for our Celebrity Male Role Model Pixel Reveal campaign, we have now reached 900 signatures!
These 900 signatures come from members of the CumberCollective, survivors of Violence Against Women (VAW) and anti-VAW activists and advocates from at least 38 countries including Australia, Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, Seychelles, Spain, Taiwan, The Philippines, the UK, the USA, Turkey, Vietnam and Zambia.
As part of helping raise awareness about VAW through the petition, many who signed also left powerful messages for Benedict in the comments section of the petition:
- Rape and domestic violence survivors (including a number of CumberCollective members) courageously shared their stories.
- Anti-VAW activists and advocates mentioned their work and the women and children they represent.
- Male allies wrote about why they support ending VAW as well as the importance of men and male role models stepping up to stop VAW.
- Women living in high-risk countries such as India talked about the importance of raising awareness about VAW.
Why This Is Not Your Usual Petition
While there are many reasons to sign the petition, we understand that there are folks who are either uncertain or uncomfortable about signing the petition because traditionally, petitions are used to pressure the recipient. And they (quite rightly) feel that Benedict should not be pressured into supporting the anti-VAW cause.
We assure all our signatories that we are NOT using the petition to pressure Benedict.
We could have simply sent him a private formal request letter. However, we have taken the unorthodox route of using the petition format provided by Change.org as part of putting together our invitation to Benedict for 2 reasons:
- VAW survivors, anti-VAW activists and CumberCollective members have a stake in this invitation to Benedict and should rightfully have their voices included. All of them who have signed the petition did so because they recognise that we need to include good men and good male role models such as Benedict in efforts to stop VAW. As as mark of respect for them and their support, we re-purposed the petition page into a positive platform for supporters and survivors to share their stories and comments about VAW to be sent to Benedict.
- Building a compelling case for Benedict’s consideration. Benedict is an intelligent man and we respect this by presenting as strong a case as possible so as not to waste his time. Given that we will only have one chance at having him consider our request, the signatures and comments will support and strengthen our case. It will also help reduce the likelihood of our invitation getting buried under the huge pile of mail he undoubtedly receives.
Once we have finished gathering signatures and comments, we will respectfully reach out to him by printing and sending the invitation letter (with all signatures and comments) to his agent to pass on to him for his consideration.
Benedict is free to accept or decline our invitation and we will respect his final decision.
As for our usage of pictures of Benedict for this campaign, please be assured that:
- For the digital fan art portraits, we have received direct permission from the fan artist herself.
- For the photographs, we have used open source pictures from Wikimedia Commons and licensed Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic licence
For the full artwork credits and links, please go here.
We hope that our clarification helps allay any uncertainty about this campaign. Nevertheless, we recognise that not everybody will choose to support or participate in the cause in this way and we respect that.
If you decide to do so, you can sign the petition at http://is.gd/BC4RoleModel
It’s time to stop violence against women. Together.