I’m angry. Furious. I feel sick to the stomach. I have just watched a video that completely degrades women. A video that belittles violence, rape and human trafficking. In a one-minute ad, rape victims have become dehumanised.
Animal-rights advocacy group PETA (People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals)’s recent campaign “Women explain what rape feels like for animals in the food industry” is nothing short of offensive. In fact, it is a disgrace.
To save you the horror of watching the appalling video, let me explain it for you.
The black and white video is a compilation of broken, emotional women speaking to camera. Their language and statements paint a dark picture of terrible experiences they have suffered at the hands of violent men. They have been held against their will, injured and frightened. The viewer very quickly comes to the assumption these poor women have each suffered atrocities, they have been raped.
We hear lines such as:
“One man held me down”
“While another touched me”
“I was so scared”
“I didn’t know what I had done wrong”
It is horrific and confronting.
The video continues with this violent description before it takes a dramatic twist. One woman holds up a picture of a cow and explains “I am you”. The melancholic piano music underneath the video soars to a sad crescendo before words come up on screen telling the viewer, “every year, billions of animals are born into the meat, egg and dairy industries. Almost all of them are a result of forcible artificial insemination. Rape. Don’t participate, go vegan.”
This ad is not about sexual assault. In a glib bid to stop forced artificial insemination of cows, pigs and chickens and encourage people to become vegans, PETA has compared animals to rape victims.
I’m not the only one to be outraged by this campaign. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia executive Karen Willis has labelled it, “unconscionable”.
The backlash has hit Twitter with vengeance.
Rightly so. I would expect any decent person who abhors sexual violence of women to condemn PETA for its insensitive and vulgar approach to further its agenda.
Alex Hind is a Content Writer and Video Producer at BCM