Enedina Vance, a mother of six from Fostoria, Ohio, posted a picture of her six-month-old daughter last week that showed the girl’s left dimple “pierced” with a diamond.
It was a fake photo that she designed using the PicsArt app, in an effort to make a point about what she called the “multilations” of children’s bodies.
Coverage of piercings on Globalnews.ca:
But the photo took off beyond her intended audience, and was shared almost 14,000 times on Facebook.
And with the increased attention came a flood of abusive comments from people threatening to call the police or child protective services.
Vance is an “intactivist,” a movement that works to raise awareness of “any kinds of alterations or multilations that we do to our children.”
That includes actions like piercings, circumcisions, “anything that we do against their will, that would violate their human rights,” Vance told Global News.
She wanted to draw people’s attention to the issue. So she found a picture of her daughter, superimposed a diamond piercing on her cheek, and then posted it on Facebook.
“I’m the parent, she is MY CHILD, I will do whatever I want!!” she wrote in the post.
“I make all of her decisions until she’s 18, I made her, I own her!!”
Vance meant for the post to be tongue-in-cheek — she included a hashtag that read “#sarcasm” — but the post spread far beyond the audience she meant it for, and a number of people appeared to take it seriously.
According to a post on her Facebook page, one user called her an “abusive an unfit mother” and threatened to call protective services.
Another user also claimed to have called the services and said they hoped her baby would be taken away from her.
Still others used violent language saying Vance should be “beat to death,” according to her.
“I understand the shock and anger, they’re just angry at the wrong thing,” Vance told Global News.
She reiterated her feeling that “no one has the right to alter, modify or mutilate another person’s body” without their consent.
“Not even parents,” Vance said.