Trigger warning: This post deals with rape and violence against women, and may be distressing for some readers.
A confronting anti-vaccination ad likening immunisations to rape is causing anger on social media.
Posted today by the Australian Vaccination Network – a not-for-profit organisation with more than 8000 Facebook followers – the ad features an image of a man grabbing a terrified woman from behind and covering her mouth.
The text reads: “Forced penetration. Really – no big deal, if it’s just a vaccination needle and he’s a doctor. Do you really ‘need’ control over your own choices.”
Most of the comments on the posts are from shocked Facebook followers, expressing their disgust at the parallel drawn between vaccination and sexual assault.
“This is highly inappropriate! I’m all for freedom of choice, but you are out of line with this! It’s a disgusting way to get your point across,” one Facebook user commented.
“This is disgusting. Are you saying you believe your child being immunised is as bad as your child being raped? This could also be very triggering for victims of sexual assault,” says another.
Another comment was: “That is completely inappropriate, and a very poor comparison.”
And: “You should be ashamed of this. So very very ashamed.”
On its website, the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Inc (formerly known as the Australian Vaccination Network) claims it is not anti- or pro-vaccination, but encourages people to “make an informed choice”.
An hour before the group posted the image on its Facebook page, it posted a link to a petition calling on the government to back away from its ‘no jab, no pay’ policy.
The petition claims: “This is not legal consent, it is unconstitutional and it is blackmail!”
For a group that claims not to take sides on the debate, this picture has us feeling skeptical…
What do you think?
Save the Date to Vaccinate is an initiative from NSW Health to remind parents of the importance of on-time vaccinations for children. Visit www.immunisation.health.nsw.gov.au to download the free ‘Save the Date’ phone app.