A #BriefMessage Worth Listening To

Contemporary Italian artist aleXsandro Palombo is no stranger to creating art for a cause, and his latest project in celebration of International Women's Day adds to the list of things worth fighting for: In honor of International Women's Day, #BriefMessage takes a stand against violence against women — but this time, not with the faces of cartoon characters that have become his signature. Real women with real messages have come forward for the project, and the results are as powerful as they are important.

In the past, Palombo has tackled everything from domestic violence to breast cancer awareness and from World AIDS Day to our weird and inexplicable obsession with celebrities. Typically, though, he relies on remixes of pop culture icons to make his point. This time, though, he did something different, putting out a call for real women all over the world to become the faces of #BriefMessage. The call was simple and open ended: Write a message that speaks out against violence against women — any message, in any language, saying whatever is on your mind — on a pair of underwear and snap a photo of yourself with it.

The project lines up with the theme for this year's International Women's Day celebration, “make it happen.” According to the International Women's Day website, the goal is to “celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.” While it's true that we've made a lot of advancements over the years, the bottom line is that equality is still an issue — and in order to fix that, we need to draw attention to it. Unfortunately, it's not always a matter of celebration, though: Women are still disproportionately the victims of violence at the hands of intimate partners. According to the World Health Organization, 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence; 30 percent of women have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner; and as many as 38 percent of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.

That's what #BriefMessage hopes to address: Stopping violence against women once and for all. Each message is both personal and global; they come from intimate and individual places, but are also applicable all over the world.

See the full series over at Palombo's website, and join the project by emailing him your own message.

Images: Courtesy aleXsandro Palombo.