74° Good Afternoon
74° Good Afternoon

Petition for controversial Staten Island high school art project seeks to spread word about rape

A photo project created by a student at

A photo project created by a student at Staten Island's Susan E. Wagner High School depicts words pertaining to rape, sexuality and objectification written on a girl's back. Photo Credit:

A controversial photography project created by a Staten Island high school student is seeing new life via an online petition after reportedly being removed from campus.

The photo composite contains several images of a girl's back displaying a variety of body-rights statements — "no means no," "my body, my rules." It initially hung in the lobby of Susan Wagner High School, but was taken down, as reported by on Friday.

The online petition, with close to 1,300 signatures as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, was created to get the piece back in front of students. It reads, in part:

"We were first here to get our photo discussing consent and rape culture back in Wagner High School. This was taken down due to the fact that the model was under age. ... Rape culture normalizes the sexual harassment of all people, not only females. As this popularity of this photo increase[s], the more people are aware of sexual harassment and the importance of consent."

ABC7 identified the work's model as Andrea Gonzales, who told the network that the school's principal "loved the message" but that the administration was concerned because she's a minor.

A statement by Susan Wagner High School principal Gary Giordano, in the ABC7 story, said that, "We encourage and welcome the artistic expression of our students. The piece was addressed across art classes sparking meaningful conversations among students and teachers on a host of themes around social consciousness." 

The online petition has garnered hundreds of comments, many overwhelmingly supportive of the project, with messages including, "To the students leading this fight, don't relent! You are doing such courageous, important work!"


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

News photos & videos