Warning: This story contains graphic content. Reader discretion is advised.
A cartoon decal of environmentalist Greta Thunberg, which includes the logo of a Red Deer oil service company, has been widely condemned.
The decal depicts the 17-year-old Swedish activist in a sexually submissive position.
It’s an image that is clearly rape, said Patricia Arango, executive director of the Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre.
“That’s the reason we’re working hard to create a culture of respect,” Arango said.
“To me, it feels like social rape. I’m very sad and ashamed this has happened here in Canada.”
She said no matter how old a person is, or who they are, this behaviour is never OK.
The decal features the logo of X-Site Energy Services, which has an office in Red Deer, and also works in northern Alberta and B.C.
A spokesman for X-Site Energy Services has told other sources that no one from the company had anything to do with the decal, and that an unknown third party posted it to Facebook. General manager Doug Sparrow declined comment on the matter when contact by the Advocate on Thursday.
Arango said she was alerted about the post Wednesday night, adding it shows the lack of respect in social media and the rape culture that exists in many big industries. When not much is done to stop it, it becomes normalized.
“I don’t think we can be silent,” she said.
Red Deer County resident Clayton MacIntyre, who contacted the newspaper about the Facebook post, called the image disgusting.
“This was disturbing to me. I haven’t seen anything like this. There’s nothing about it that’s OK,” said MacIntyre after someone who was also shocked by the post shared it with him.
He said the reaction to environmentalists is getting progressively worse, with some people in the oil industry taking a more aggressive stance.
MacIntyre said he used to work in the industry up north and is aware of the atmosphere, but not all workers condone such behaviour.
“Some of my friends have seen it, and said it was not OK, and they’re going to be rig pigs until the day they die. That’s why people don’t take Alberta seriously. They think we’re a bunch of hillbilly rednecks running around with pipe wrenches. It’s because people post stuff like that.”
Michelle Narang, of Rocky Mountain House, said she called the RCMP to report the decal as child pornography, after seeing it.
RCMP Cpl. Ron Bumbry said officers are aware of the image and “will be following up.”
Narang, who has two teenage daughters, said as soon as she saw the image, she sat down and cried.
“The visual is jarring,” Narang said Thursday. “It hurt. It hurt on so many levels.”
Alberta’s minister for the status of women, Leela Aheer, called the graphic “completely deplorable, unacceptable and degrading.”
“This is not what our province stands for. Whoever is responsible should be ashamed and apologize immediately. I stand with Albertans against this horrendous image,” she wrote on Twitter.
Premier Jason Kenney tweeted in response: “Thank-you for denouncing this odious image and the message it sends.”
— with files from The Canadian Press
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