Childrearing

Artist’s ‘Princest’ Series Uses Disney Princesses To Make An Important Point About Sexual Abuse

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princest incest awareness poster cropped

*Trigger Warning*

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.

princest incest awareness poster

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.

(Photos: Facebook)

11 Comments

  1. Victoria

    June 28, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I get what he’s trying to do, but I worry that images of abuse will do more harm to survivors than good.

    • Ursi

      June 28, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      I agree

    • Zoe Lansing

      June 28, 2014 at 10:50 pm

      Yes, I have mixed feelings about this for the same reasons. I think it’s an extremely important message to have out there but, at the same time, when I saw an article with these images, I thought about tweeting it & decided not to. I feared these images would be too upsetting for some of my followers who are survivors of sexual abuse by family members to see. I think it’s okay for people to be disturbed by them; sometimes that’s necessary in order to build awareness of what is, in fact, a disturbing topic. On the other hand, I didn’t want to trigger any survivors. They’re already all too aware of the reality of sexual abuse by family members & don’t need to see upsetting images about it in their twitter feeds, particularly if they were already struggling w/ their own memories, PTSD symptoms, etc. that day & went on the internet in order to distract themselves. Trying to increase awareness about sexual abuse is often a tricky thing to do on the internet. You want to get the message across without triggering survivors, which is hard bc you never know who might come across something you put online & how it might affect them.

  2. NoMissCleo...JustMe

    June 28, 2014 at 10:58 am

    I saw this on Buzzfeed and even as someone who didn’t experience this as a child, I couldn’t make it through the post. The idea of my favorite childhood characters being displayed in this way really disgusts me….which I know is the point of the campaign, but still, it just made my stomach churn.

  3. momma425

    June 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Looking at these pictures was extremely triggering for me, but if they are helping people report it, I’m all for them.

  4. Alicia Kiner

    June 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    If this helps kids report abuse and opens up the conversation with parents and children about what is appropriate and what isn’t, I’m all for it. One problem I see with it though is not all children who are abused are victims of family members. Like me. But overall, I appreciate what the artist is trying to do.

    • Zoe Lansing

      June 28, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      I don’t think these posters are trying to send a message that ONLY family members abuse children. They all say that “46% of minors who are raped are victims of family members”. 46% does not equal “all”. Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that it’s not higher than 46% as it seems like the majority of people I know who were sexually abused as children, myself included, were victims of family members. I’m guessing, though, that sexual abuse is less likely to be officially reported if the abuser is a family member (particularly a parent) & that somewhat skews the numbers. Also, “minor” means anyone under 18, so teens who are date raped are factored in, as well.
      Family member or not, most children who are sexually abused are, in fact, abused by someone they know. If it’s not a family member, it’s usually a teacher, babysitter, neighbor, family friend, etc, not a stranger. Unfortunately, many parents are quick to fear that any stranger (males in particular) who looks at their kids “too long” in public, talks to their kids, etc. is a sexual predator & fear things like their kids being kidnapped by a stranger & molested, which does happen but is extremely rare. At the same time, however, these same parents often fail to see the signs that their child is being abused by someone they know & trust. It’s understandable bc it’s hard to conceive that a child’s seemingly loving parent, stepparent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, older sibling, cousin, etc. is molesting him or her. Other adults in the child’s life (teachers, neighbors, etc,) also often don’t suspect this is happening, despite there often being signs, for the same reason. This campaign brings awareness to the fact that children are, unfortunately, abused by people they love & trust, including family members, & that this is not, unfortunately, a rare occurrence. It happens in al types of families, including seemingly stable & loving ones. That’s an important message to have out there , IMO.

    • brebay

      June 28, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      Yes, I thought it would be much higher, especially for children.

  5. VA Teacher

    June 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    “I want to be a princess and princesses kiss their daddies like that, so I guess it’s ok!” Nope. It’s a bad move. The children who would be most influenced by seeing these images are NOT old enough to comprehend the message below and the idea within the choice.

  6. brebay

    June 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    I guess I haven’t seen these movies, I try to avoid Disney because it usually puts me to sleep, and my boys weren’t into princesses, but what is going on in these photos? Is it just a girl kissing her father on the lips, because we’ve already debated whether kids and parents pecking on the lips is normal/awful, and I think were about even, but is it that that’s being called “sexual abuse?” or is there something from the context of the scene that you had to see the movie to get? Just a little confused here with only the stills.

    • tk88

      June 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm

      The point isn’t about kissing, it’s just representing sexual abuse. It would be more disturbing if he was touching her breasts, and considering they’re merpeople I don’t think touching genitals would be easy to depict. And no, there isn’t anything in the picture that has to do with the film other than he is her father.

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