News Release

Mother Decries Inappropriate T-shirts

Caitlin Roper, a West Australia mother of three and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has taken a stand against T-shirts that objectify and degrade women. She launched a campaign on email and Facebook, in July, because youth store retailers refused to remove clothing with offensive adult imagery.

Two newspapers published her story, and soon more than sixty-five of the nation's leading clinicians, psychologists, educators, family foundations, child advocates and women's rights groups had given written endorsement to her work.

From there news outlets across Australia took interest in the effort, including four radio stations that aired interviews with Caitlin. One newspaper showed a small sample of the shirts to city shoppers, who generally reacted with disappointment at what they saw.

In one instance, a shirt showed a woman who had been the subject of domestic violence and had the wording "It's only illegal if you get caught." Disturbingly for Caitlin, this was one of the less offensive among those she discovered.

The drive is underscored by research showing that such imagery harms children's cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, beliefs and emotional growth. Caitlin and her supporters contend that the shirts undermine respect for women and promote domestic violence.

The inappropriate pictures are not legally printed in the media, nor are they allowed on Facebook. Yet "the public is involuntarily confronted by them," says Caitlin. "Children, young retail staff and youthful shoppers are all affected. The repulsive images also trigger distress in adults."

She is investigating ways to legally challenge the sale and display of the shirts.

President Andrew Ready of the Rockingham Stake commended Caitlin and the news media for highlighting the crusade. "Because this Church believes the family is the cornerstone of society, we see no place in Australia for apparel that debases women," he said.

Commenting further, President Ready stated, "It is astounding in this day and age, when women's rights have come so far, that some sectors are willing to accept the low-grade attacks of this pernicious trade."


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