A photo has been passed around lately of a little girl with a mangled face and a pacifier in her mouth. The attached caption is a heart-wrenching story of a girl who was killed by her mother as punishment for getting lipstick on the bed sheets in what was meant as an act of love.
Real Photo, Fake Story
One incarnation of said caption is:
This is a sad story, this little poor child, told her mother: “Mom, I painted the sheets with lipstick, ” outraged mother struck the child unconscious. Then she apologized for what she had done and asked the child’s eyes opened, but it was too late. Her little heart had stopped. Bedroom sheets read … “Mom, I love you. “
Add this to your wall for one hour and show that you are against child abuse ?
Naturally, we’re all against child abuse, but the photo is not one of child abuse, but of an animal attack in 2002.
The good news is that the child in the photo, Jade Wardle from the UK, was not killed at all. (My first thought was why a dead person would have stiches?) She was, unfortunately, mauled by the family dog, as reported in the original story. A link to the story on a Russian website also features the image being used today. But how did this photo become attached to the abuse tale? As far back as 2008, the photo was being used in unrelated child abuse stories. It’s common practice for a writer to search for a representative photo to accompany their articles. Most often, such liberal use of a photo rarely extends beyond the scope of the article. In rare instances, the photo takes on a life of its own and becomes representative of the secondary idea.
Such fabricated stories have existed since the dawn of the internet. Many of these tales have an allegorical feel to them. While fictional tales with a message have their place, it’s unfortunate that those who engage in the proliferation of such tales must resort to using inapplicable photos of real people. One wonders how Jade Wardle – or her parents – must feel about having a 9-year old image herself floating around as a dead, abused baby.