Valentines Day is an occasion for celebrating love, romance, and crimes of passion? The National Crime and Punishment Museum has run a "Crimes of Passion" exhibit on Valentines Day for the past two years, but this year the exhibit is receiving some unheard-of backlash. Chai Shenoy and Shannon Lynberg, founders of Holla Back DC, an anti-sexual harassment organization, have started a campaign on Change.org against the V-Day exhibit that is advertised as a romantic activity for couples. Upon entering the museum, couples are are handcuffed together and led through an exhibit featuring pictures of Bonnie and Clyde, Ronald Reagan's attempted assassination, and O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown. It's that last one that got Lynberg's and Shenoy's attention. "The idea that domestic violence, and especially domestic violence that ends in the murder of one partner, can be sexy appalled the two local activists," writes Amanda Kloer at Change.
The women have asked the museum not to bring back the exhibit, or at least leave out domestic violence. "So far the museum is still running the exhibit, and won't say whether or not they'll bring it back next year," notes Kloer. "However, Shenoy and Lynberg, working with local domestic violence advocacy organizations, did convince the museum to change their marketing materials and give domestic violence resources to individuals that attend the exhibit." Though the museum's website is still advertising the exhibit, now, underneath a photograph of a happy, handcuffed couple smiling as they hold a gun together, is a disclaimer about the dangers of domestic violence and the phone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. So all you heartless, I mean hopeless, romantics out there better get to the Museum of Crime and Punishment before it closes today because this romantic Valentine's Day event might not be around next year.