conceptual image of a woman with sewn lips

Silence Isn’t Safe

I designed this poster to bring awareness to the horrifying reality that many immigrant victims — including those with legal status — do not report violent crime out of fear they will be deported.

This fear stems from the existence of an incentivized program in which the Department of Homeland Security extends immigration enforcement authority to local law enforcement agencies. Domestic violence abusers prey on this fear, and use this threat as a powerful tool silence their victims and escape prosecution.

I wanted to convey the horror of a situation where not reporting a crime against oneself is considered the safest alternative. That called for a realistic photo, but crime scene styled photos saturate our visual discourse (news, CSI, etc). I needed something that startled in a different way. Searching stock photography sites, I found and purchased the license for the base image of a woman with sewn lips. The model’s ethnicity is unknown. It is grotesque, but not so much that the reader looks away.

This is a sample project from my coursework completed in International Activism while an undergrad at Antioch University Seattle. I sourced much of the information form Legal Momentum: Immigrant Women Program.

Help is available to immigrant victims of domestic violence. If you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE.

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