Last month, Middle Eastern artist Saint Hoax depicted Cinderella, Jasmine, and other Disney princesses as we had never seen them: bruised and bloodied. The poster series, called Happy Never After, was meant to encourage domestic abuse victims to ask for help. Now the artist has given the guys the same treatment with Prince Charmless, because after all, men fall victim to domestic violence too.
“Happy Never After went viral, and I received both positive and negative remarks,” says Saint Hoax. “There was one comment that kept resurfacing, and it was about why I only chose to target domestically abused women while neglecting the fact that there are domestically abused men.”
Recent statistics on male domestic violence victims are hard to come by. According to a 2013 report released by the Department of Justice, 22 percent of intimate partner violence victims between 2002 and 2011 were men. Saint Hoax cites a 2010 British Crime Survey that found that 40 percent of domestic violence victims every year between 2004 and 2009 were men. When it comes to reporting abuse, men may feel shame or fear that authorities will assume they are the perpetrators.
“I realized that the problem isn’t that people have double standards when it comes to domestic abuse but actually due to the lack of awareness around that subject,” Saint Hoax says. “I felt like the Prince Charmless series was highly needed to push for research.”
The artist doesn’t mean to compare the violence each gender suffers. Of course the majority of victims are women. Saint Hoax says that the objective of Happy Never After was to tell victims that it’s never too late to end abuse; Prince Charmless wants to convince men not to be embarrassed to ask for help. Saint Hoax also points out that a large proportion of gay men suffer domestic abuse. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, about 23 percent of men who shared a home with a male partner reported being sexually or physically abused or stalked by a male cohabitant.
Why Disney characters?
“I wanted to use images that are relevant to everyone,” Saint Hoax explains. “I wanted to target people of all ages. Violence is something that people need to learn about early on.”