Valentine's Day: The true meaning

February 13, 2012, 3:59 PM GMT+0

Charity Women’s Aid offers 'virtual gifts' as just 22% women say 'grand gesture' would mean a lot

Does getting a bouquet of roses this Valentine’s Day show you that your partner really loves you?

Perhaps your loved one would like a stolen moment? Or the moon on a stick? It might be some industrial strength mojo that’s what they could really use – or maybe it’s just some good old fashioned romance...

This Valentine’s Day, national domestic and sexual violence charity Women’s Aid is helping to raise vital funds by offering shoppers something a little more interesting than the usual chocolates or flowers. By selling some truly magical, once-in-a-lifetime, virtual gifts, in collaboration with Grey London, the campaign aims to celebrate the true meaning of Valentine’s Day, and highlight that for over half a million women, Valentine’s Day is a day like any other – a day living in fear of their partner.

The Cabinet of Dreams

The charity has created its very own Cabinet of Dreams, featuring nine Valentine’s Day gifts displayed majestically in a Soho shopfront 3D installation. Shoppers can ‘purchase’ the gifts by texting the number next to each item, and donate an amount between £5 and £20 to Women’s Aid.

The purchase will then be sent via text to the recipient who will be informed of the donation and their unique present.

Each gift, housed in a bell-jar, has its own unique interpretation and illustration from one of London’s top artists or collectives, including Rob Ryan, Kyle Bean, Fred Butler, The Last Tuesday Society, Nicole Mueller, Suck & Chew, Francesca Mair, Marie-Louise Jones and Charlotte Brown.

When women were asked what romantic gestures would mean a lot to them this Valentine’s Day, the poll of 2,106 adults (of which 1106 were women) found that sentiment wins out over cost.

  • A card was the most popular answer (40%)
  • While a home-cooked meal won out over a meal at a restaurant (39% vs. 31%)

Nicola Harwin, Chief Executive for Women's Aid, commented: 'Many people do not realise that abusive relationships usually do not begin with violence, but often with gifts and flowers - all of the things we associate with romance. A seemingly perfect relationship on the surface can deteriorate into a pattern of abusive and controlling behaviour, without family and friends knowing what is really happening. Women’s Aid believes that love and relationships should be based on equality and respect, and would like to encourage everyone to celebrate this Valentine's Day by buying a "money can't buy" gift for their partner from our virtual shop, which will help to raise vital funds for our lifesaving services.'

See the survey details and full results here

One in four women will experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime, whether it be physical, sexual, psychological or financial. But despite less than half of affected women reporting an incident to the police, one domestic violence call is still received every single minute by the emergency services.

The Cabinet of Dreams can be found at The FrameStore, 9 Noel St, W1F 8GH , or online here until Valentine’s Day.

Women’s Aid is the national domestic and sexual violence charity that co-ordinates and supports an England-wide network of over 500 local services working to end domestic violence against women and children.

Women's Aid provides a package of vital 24 hour lifeline services through its publications (available in 11 languages including English), websites ( and, and running the Freephone 24 Hour National Domestic Violence Helpline in partnership with Refuge.