<p>Social media users have criticised the card for ‘joking’ about domestic violence</p>

Social media users have criticised the card for ‘joking’ about domestic violence

Chorlton Arts Market removes greeting card after it was criticised for ‘joking’ about domestic violence

The market has apologised for causing offence

Saman Javed
Saturday 12 March 2022 13:05
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Chorlton Art Market has apologised after one of its shops was criticised for selling a greetings card which appeared to joke about domestic violence.

The card, which was originally displayed in the window of the south Manchester shop, shows two hands held together to form the shape of a heart with the message, “It isn’t murder if you strangle them with heart hands.”

A photograph of the card on display in the shop window was first shared to Twitter by one passerby, who voiced concerns about how it might affect survivors of domestic violence.

“This card is for sale in Chorlton Arts Market. I’ve had conversations about it with two members of staff, one of whom was remarkably hostile to the idea that someone might have a problem with it. ‘It’s just a joke’ was one of his responses,” they said.

The card was on display in the shop window

The market has been criticised by social media users and women’s groups for making light of domestic violence.

“Horrifying. Just one example of how violence against women and girls gains quiet acceptance in society,” one person said.

Yes Matters UK, a victim support service for women and girls, said: “Murder and strangulation isn’t a joke especially at a time of historical high in domestic homicides. Getting unprofessionally hostile and defensive is an example of the problem.”

In a statement to the Independent, Chorlton Art Market apologised for causing offence and said it had removed the card from the shop’s display window in February after a customer complained.

Following the backlash on social media this week, the card was removed from sale on 8 March.

“We present and sell the work of many local artists and although we preserve their right to freedom of speech and limit censorship as much as possible, we always listen to feedback from our customers,” a spokesperson said.

“In this respect we raised the customer’s concerns with the artist in question. As a result, we confirm that we have removed this card from our shelves and as of 8th March 2022 the card is no longer for sale in our shop.

“We sincerely apologise for any offence or upset caused to the public, we condemn all forms of domestic violence.”

In 2020, 22 per cent of the women killed by men died of strangulation or asphyxiation, according to the Femicide Census.

In January, the government amended the Serious Crime Act 2015 to make non-fatal strangulation and suffocation a criminal offence which is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The move has been welcomed by the Centre for Women’s Justice, which had led the campaign for the amendment.

“The new law will shine a light on this horrific form of abuse and as a society we must not tolerate it any longer,” it said in a statement.

“This new law is just the first step in addressing non-fatal strangulation. We need to educate police and prosecutors, medical professionals, domestic abuse workers and the wider public to recognise this form of abuse and the long-term physical and emotional harm it causes.”

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