Domestic violence leaves a lasting mark, even if you can’t always see it.

That’s the message UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham is hoping to popularize through his tattoos in a new video for the children’s organization. Launched as part of UNICEF's #ENDViolence campaign on Dec. 5, the 60-second feature animates scenes of child abuse, both physical and psychological, across the canvas of Beckham’s body, in the hopes to raise awareness for an often hidden form of suffering. 

“Every five minutes, somewhere in the world, a child dies from violence,” said Beckham. “Millions more are in danger of physical, emotional and sexual abuse that could destroy their childhoods forever.

Beckham’s effort “builds momentum for ending violence”, said Anthony Lake, UNICEF’s Executive Director.  “Violence and abuse take a terrible toll on children’s lives and futures — harming their bodies, undermining their emotional well being, even interfering with the healthy development of their brains.

Beckham isn’t the first athlete to promote children’s rights. Barcelona star Leo Messi, another UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, starred in a similar video in 2010.

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And last year, Swedish soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimović temporarily tattooed the names of 50 people living in hunger on his upper body to for the World Food Programme. In a goal celebration, Ibrahimović took off his shirt to showcase their names, earning him a suspension.

Afterwards, the football player released a statement, “The tattoos have gone, but the people are still out there. There are 805 million people who are suffering from hunger around the world.”

But, as Beckham’s new video points out, tattoos don’t only signify visibility; they signify permanence, a feeling victims of child abuse know full well.

Last year, the former Real Madrid player went to Cambodia with UNICEF to listen to children firsthand. “I was shocked by what I heard and I saw how violence can leave deep and lasting scars,” said Beckham. “No child should have to endure this.”

“I hope this new project will draw attention to this urgent issue and inspire action,” he added. "Violence against children is wrong and together we need to end it.”


Demand Equity

Watch David Beckham’s Tattoos Come to Life for Child Abuse

By Luca Powell