LIFESTYLE

'Insensitive' And 'Reckless' Advert Comparing Vaccinations To Rape Removed From Facebook After Backlash

23/04/2015 17:29 BST | Updated 23/04/2015 17:59 BST

An anti-vaccination group has come under fire after a photograph was posted on its Facebook page which compared rape to being vaccinated.

The "reckless" image, which was posted earlier this week on the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network page, has since been taken down after causing widespread upset.

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The anti-vaccination group supports personal choice rather than government involvement, when it comes to the vaccination of children. It also believes that vaccinations can cause autism.

The shocking image posted earlier this week shows a horrific scene which some Facebook users have described as "sexual abuse".

A man is covering a woman's mouth with the message: "Forced penetration. Really - no big deal if it's just a vaccination needle and he's a doctor. Do you really 'need' control over your own choices?"

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Speaking to HuffPost UK Lifestyle, Caitlin Roper, a campaigner for women's rights group Collective Shout, says that "the comparison between vaccinations and rape is one that will be offensive to many people, particularly rape survivors".

"The image is clearly intended to evoke a strong response," she adds. "And judging from the outcry on social media, it certainly has."

Even members of the Facebook page who usually support their message found it a step too far.

One user, Jonathan, wrote: "Good advocacy, bad ad. There are other ways to get your point across just as effectively without being insensitive to people who've been through sexual abuse."

Meanwhile the backlash on social media has been huge.

Twitter user, Michelle Griffin tweeted: "What the hell? My outrage meter isn't that sensitive but this anti vax poster is appalling."

While Naomi Cotterill wrote that it was a "horrifying new low for an organisation that sets the bar low at the best of times".

Meanwhile, Roper says that the image would have been particularly "confronting" for survivors of sexual violence who are reminded of the violence they endured.

"It is insensitive, thoughtless and reckless," she adds.

HuffPost UK Lifestyle has reached out to the manager of the Australian Vaccination-skeptics Network Facebook page for comment. We are yet to hear back.

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[H/T Mashable]