In spite of the growing public focus on domestic violence (DV) in mainstream
Australian society, ethnographers have remained aloof from analysing this problem. In an
ethnographic study in the Brisbane region, I analysed people’s perceptions of anti-violence
images that were part of a public campaign and assessed the appropriateness of the images’
locations. Occasionally, my interlocutors unexpectedly included accounts of DV. My analysis
reveals the tensions between public display and the concealment underlying the campaign.
The interlocutors revealed experiences of competing responsibilities related to DV. The use of
subtle images of anti-violence in locations filled with competing images, coupled with a failure
to consider historical continuities and changes in local imaginaries of violence, exposed the
difficulties associated with conveying persuasive messages of DV prevention.
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