As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse myself, I know first hand how terrifying and damaging molestation can be for a kid. Which is why I am simultaneously moved and disturbed by this artist who goes by the name Saint Hoax‘s newest series. The series, titled “Princest” depicts Disney princesses such as Aurora, Jasmine and Ariel being sexually assaulted by their fathers. I will admit, my first instinct was disgust, but considering the savage reality of childhood sexual abuse, I think these jarring images may actually do some good.
According to The New York Daily News, Saint Hoax was inspired to create this series after discovering that one of his close friends was been molested by their father as a child. The artist says that it took 14 years for his friend to feel comfortable discussing the abuse, which motivated him to create these posters to encourage victims to speak out and report abuse. Saint Hoax specifically chose well-known Disney characters because, as he told Buzzfeed, he was hoping to “find a visual language” to speak to children about this difficult subject:
“It took her 14 years to be able to share that traumatizing experience,” Saint Hoax told BuzzFeed. “That story shock me to my core. As an artist and activist I decided to shed light on that topic again in a new form. I used Disney princess because it’s a visual language that my targeted audience would be attracted to.”
Are the posters difficult to look at? Yes. But childhood sex abuse is a difficult subject to begin with, and sometimes a little shock value can go along way:
“I was extremely hesitant about posting the series. I feared that it might be clashing with Disney’s principles,” Saint Hoax said. “But today, just one day after publishing my posters, I received an email from a girl thanking me for the project and telling me that she decided to report her father after seeing the posters. I actually cried. You have no idea how glad I am now that I actually published the series.”
I’m sure there are plenty of people accusing Saint Hoax of being controversial for the sake of attention and publicity, but to me he sounds legitimately sincere on this subject matter. Personally, it took me many years to even begin to process what happened to me growing up. Of course these posters are disturbing. But what’s more disturbing: this art or the multitude of children molested by their parents or family members? I think we all know the answer to that.