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Despicable Tied-Up Tailgate Decal

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Every day, three women die at the hands of their spouse, boyfriend or former partner. Six hundred women in crisis call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) daily, looking for a way to escape a violent relationship most of which are at the hands of their intimate partners.

Yet in a despicable and misguided attempt to show how realistic their decals look, the Waco Texas sign company, Hornet Signs, recently created a visual featuring a woman bound and tied. The decal, when stuck to a truck's tailgate, is so realistic that it genuinely looks like a blond-haired woman, curled up with hands and feet tied with rope, lying unconscious in the bed of a truck. Apparently, some who saw the decal even called the police thinking the woman was actually in trouble.

While we respect the right to freedom of speech and the ability to market a company in an attention-getting manner, this business went too far. This particularly horrific illusion we believe only increases the distortion between fiction and reality that fuels so much of the violence we hear first-hand accounts of daily.

Perhaps Hornet Signs doesn't know, or care, that every year, 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner here in the United States. Or that the costs of such violence to society are enormous, around $10 billion dollars in medical care, mental health services and time away from work.

Operating around the clock, seven days a week, the National Domestic Violence Hotline provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims of domestic violence to find safety and live lives free of abuse. The need outweighs the ability to serve however, and more than 53,000 calls for help to the emergency hotline went unanswered due to a lack of resources.

Unfortunately, the NDVH recently reached its 3 millionth answered call this summer. Why, with so many calling for help, would anyone want to profit from violence against women? It is time for these decals to be removed from sale. And it is time for all those who attempt to use fictionalized violence against women as a way to gain customers through shock value to stop and realize they are further numbing our culture's perception of violence against women. Real lives, not fictional ones depend on it.

If you need help, or know someone who does, visit NDVH.org or call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Deaf callers can get help by video phone (855) 812-1001 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. PST) or TTY 1-800-787-3224

Katie Ray-Jones