Laia Abril Grapples with Rape Culture

Misogyny has blighted our societies for a long time. One artist’s longterm project ‘A History of Misogyny’ has only just begun. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, it could not be more timely.

Vantage Editors
Jun 29, 2018 · 9 min read
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© Laia Abril, from ‘A History of Misogyny, Chapter Two: On Rape Culture’

Laia Abril’s Instagram post on the occasion of the verdict in the trial of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old in Pamplona, Spain. The court found the men guilty of “sexual abuse,” but cleared them of the more serious charge of rape.
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Left: fish bladder condom. The earliest prophylactics were typically made from catfish and sturgeon bladders, and used until the 19th century. Cleaned, split and dried lamb intestines were also popular. Since neither material is very elastic, such early condoms had to be secured to the penis with a ribbon. They were also expensive. After each use, the condoms were washed, carefully dried, and rubbed with oil and bran to prevent cracking. Right: soap and enema syringes. Thick-walled cylinders with plungers have been in use as intestinal cleaners since the 15th century. Since the 1920s, these have been adapted as abortion instruments, used to flush the uterus with soapy or astringent liquid. Because they have other uses, such syringes satisfy the most important requirement for every clandestine abortion tool: They raise no suspicions. However, this tool’s hygienic and medical inadequacies, as well as the dangerous substances often used as a flushing liquid, have cost many women their lives. © Laia Abril, from ‘A History of Misogyny, Chapter One: On Abortion’.
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Left: Magdalena, portrait, right: Marta, portrait. © Laia Abril, from ‘A History of Misogyny, Chapter One: On Abortion’.
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Human incubator. On November 27, 2014, an Irish woman in her twenties was admitted to hospital with headaches and nausea. Two days later, the mother of two suffered a fall and was later found unresponsive. On December 3, she was declared clinically brain dead. She was 15 weeks pregnant at the time, and was placed on life support against her family’s wishes. On December 26, after hearing that the foetus had little chance of survival, the Irish high court finally ruled that her life support machine could be turned off. Under the 1983 8th amendment of the Irish constitution, an unborn child has the same rights as its mother. © Laia Abril, from ‘A History of Misogyny, Chapter One: On Abortion’.

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