Vaccinations Likened To Rape, Sparking Outrage

Apr 23, 2015 at 11:54 AM ET

The Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network (AVSN) has come under fire for comparing mandatory vaccinations to rape, allegedly in response to an announcement by the federal government that it would cut childcare benefits to parents who refuse to vaccinate their children.

A member of AVSN posted a photo to Facebook, showing a man with his hand over the mouth of a distressed woman, and the words: “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?”

However, the stunt drew immediate and intense criticism, even from some supporters of the anti-vaxx group. “This is disgusting,” wrote commenter Rachelle Taylor. “Are you saying you believe your child being immunised is as bad as your child being raped? This could also be very triggering for victims of sexual assault.”

The photo has since been removed from Facebook, and AVSN founder Meryl Dorey has denied responsibility—claiming it was posted by a supporter who runs the AVSN Facebook page—but has not entirely distanced herself.

“I agree that the image was very much in-your-face and should not have been posted here, but I am also (once again) floored that this has become a media issue, whilst the children who are killed and permanently injured and their families that are often destroyed remain in the shadows,” she wrote.

It’s not the first time AVSN has compared mandatory vaccinations to rape. In 2011, when a court ordered the parents of a five-year-old girl to vaccinate her, the group posted to its Facebook page: “Court orders rape of a child.”

“At a time when a Royal Commission is uncovering the true horror of child sex abuse, equating doctors with rapists shows how completely unhinged the AVSN has become,” responded Shadow Minister for Health, Catherine King.

Read More:

Australian Vaccination Skeptics Network compares vaccines to rape (Sydney Morning Herald)
Australian parents will lose $11K for every child they don’t vaccinate (Vocativ)