WARNING: This article contains a graphic cartoon depiction of sexual assault.
A graphic image by Halifax-based artist Bruce MacKinnon has gone viral in the wake of recent sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The cartoon shows Lady Justice blindfolded and pinned down by Republican hands, her scales splayed out beside her. Her attacker towers over her and covers her mouth with his hand — an explicit reference to California professor Christine Blasey Ford's account of an alleged sexual assault by Kavanaugh in 1982.
MacKinnon says he was inspired to draw the cartoon because he believes the hearing was a "watershed moment" in how allegations of sexual abuse are treated in North America.
Since its publication this weekend, the cartoon has garnered lots of attention and praise on social media.
But some social media users were critical of the image, commenting that it is re-traumatizing for victims. One person tweeted that the cartoon made her feel like she couldn't breathe.
MacKinnon says that in many ways, that was the point.
"As a cartoonist, I deal in symbols, and Lady Justice is a powerful one," MacKinnon told The Washington Post. He said that Republican members of the committee sought to "smother justice before it had a chance to be heard."
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MacKinnon is no stranger to controversy, and the Trump presidency has afforded him numerous opportunities to ruffle feathers. Earlier this year, he connected President Trump to Bill Cosby when the latter was found guilty of sexual assault.
And late last year, he depicted a robed Ku Klux Klan member tickling a writhing Trump.
With files from The Canadian Press.
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