From Iceland — “Anti-Rape Sticker” Sparks Controversy And Discussion

“Anti-Rape Sticker” Sparks Controversy And Discussion

Published May 18, 2017

“Anti-Rape Sticker” Sparks Controversy And Discussion

Singer Þórunn Antonía, with the support of President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, recently launched a campaign against sexual assault with a sticker she had designed. This sticker is meant to be placed over a glass, leaving only a hole for a straw, with the intent of preventing someone from being able to surreptitiously drug someone’s drink. Þórunn Antonía told reporters the inspiration behind the sticker came in part from when a friend of hers was sexually assaulted after being drugged, and sees the sticker as a practical tactic.

“Just as we shouldn’t have to lock our cars or homes out of fear that someone will break in, we still need to do it,” she explained to Vísir. “There are people who steal, and there are people who drug and rape. It’s tragic but true.”

Not everyone was on board with the idea, however. Numerous people, including feminists Hildur Lilliendahl and Maria Lilja Thrastarsdóttir, contended that the sticker effectively shifts responsibility from the perpetrator and onto the target.

“Do you honestly think rapists will stop raping when they see a sticker on a glass?” Maria Lilja asked rhetorically on Facebook. “No, they’ll turn their attention to a woman who doesn’t have a sticker. Unlucky! She should’ve been more careful.”

Another Icelander, Ósk Gunnlaugsdóttir, took matters a step further by producing a series of satirical stickers—for potential rapists. These stickers are “rewards” that men can affix to their clothing when they refrain from raping.

Ultimately, the question of who’s responsible for rape should be incontrovertible: it’s the rapists themselves. But Þórunn Antonía’s project, whatever her intent, if nothing else reveals that the question of responsibility is (for some people, anyway) anything but resolved.

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