Telefono Donna, a rape crisis hotline in Italy, designed a poster to raise awareness of rape in honor of November 25, the International Day to for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Some conservative politicians in Milan object to the Christ-like pose taken by the bare-breasted model in the poster. From the UK Telegraph:
“We’re calling for the poster to be withdrawn because an important day like this should not be debased by such a sexual provocation,” said councillor Carlo Fidanza, a member of the right-wing National Alliance party.
But the president of the Telefono Donna rape helpline, Stefania Bartochetti, said she was surprised by the controversy because the poster had raised no objections in other Italian cities.
“As a Catholic I can’t see anything offensive or blasphemous. We chose a strong image to encourage more rape victims to break their silence,” she said.
The poster poses the question: ‘Who Pays For Man’s Sins?’ and a caption which reads “Only four per cent of women who suffer sexual violence report their assailants.”
Left-leaning politicians said their opponents’ concerns were out of step with contemporary Italian society.
“If you applied these standards to Italian television, you’d have to get rid of 70 per cent of what the main channels broadcast,” said Pierfrancesco Majorino, of the Democratic Party.
Small reproduction of the poster, showing bare-breasted woman [NSFW], below the cut.
Beyond the question of whether such a campaign is blasphemous, I think it’s useful to ask if the imagery of objectification is appropriate to use to raise awareness of a crime that, in part, depends on the dehumanization and objectification of those who are raped.