What was meant to be a funny and lighthearted Christmas card has become the nightmare before Christmas in a firestorm of Facebook controversy. What do you think? Here's the photo:
The sign in the back reads "Peace on Earth" and features a family with the mother and sisters with green duct tape over their mouths, while the men of the family give a thumbs-up and a smile.
Naturally, a good chunk of the Internet is outraged that domestic abuse would be "promoted" on Facebook, especially during the holidays. That paired with the fact that The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says one in three American women is a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime.
Originally posted on the Facebook page for a newly-established and local photographer specializing in engagement, family and maternity photos, Hannah Hawkes Photography, has had to post her own statements since the silence hit the fan. Here is her statement:
After being silent, now isn't that ironic, I would like to speak! I have been called every name in the book, and have received some very hateful and vulgar comments and messages. I would like to say that as a female I do NOT and have never promoted violence to women! I do not support abuse, or the degradation of women. My controversial photo was taken by request by the family, and was in no way meant to promote abuse. This photo was taken with humor in mind, and was meant as a comical Christmas photo. I personally know this family, and have known them for many years. They are not abusive to their children in any shape or form. Also, I would like to add that no one was harmed during the process! So everyone have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and MAY GOD BLESS you and yours!
The Facebook page for Hannah Hawkes Photograph has since been taken down by Facebook. But The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence still isn't happy, posting this response to Hawkes:
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that still perpetrates violence against women as evidenced by this photo. What is equally as disturbing as the duct taping of the woman and girls’ mouths and the binding of their hands is the image of the young boy behind them giving a ‘thumbs up’. It is obvious, he is already influenced. Though we are glad the photo has been removed, that people responded so strongly against it, and the photographer asserted that the photo was taken in jest, it is no laughing matter. Violence against women is commonplace and perpetuated by apathy and ignorance, as exemplified by this photo. Once again, it gives us a glimpse into the ongoing struggle to change how our culture views and treats women and girls.