When a friend showed me a screenshot of a Christmas t-shirt with the word "rape" on it, I was left horrified and without many words.
The t-shirt was from popular website CafePress, where users can create and upload content to sell online. CafePress' Content Usage Policy clearly states that such content should not be allowed on its site. The t-shirt in question has now been removed for violating this content usage policy, but the question begs; why was it there in the first place?
Rape is not a fashion accessory. I was disappointed and shocked that CafePress had allowed a Christmas t-shirt promoting rape on their website in the first place. But, because CafePress are such a well-known and widely used brand, I was skeptical that this type of product could become available very often. So I decided to do some research of my own...
I typed the word "rape" into CafePress' search bar and waited anxiously. The results were overwhelmingly positive; anti-rape culture and pro-survivors. But not everything.
A baby grow with "product of mummy and daddy rape" written on it, a t-shirt with "I'm feeling raped" on the front and a mug featuring the words "I could rape a cup of tea" are just a few of the products I encountered trivialising rape and violence.
Powered By Girl. We're all outraged.
So we've started a petition.
We're calling on CafePress CEO Fred Durham to remove all content that glorifies rape and violence from its website, and ensure that it adheres fully to its Content Usage Policy in the future, by moderating content BEFORE it goes live on the site.
Pleas join us if you agree that rape is not a joke or a fashion accessory.
Sign the petition. And please share widely, too. You can Tweet using the hastag #RapeIsNotFashion and don't forget to tag @cafepress.