Fact Check

Does a Billboard in Finland Promote Rape by Refugees?

A photograph purportedly showing a billboard in Finland that condones rape is fake.

Published Jan 11, 2016

Claim:
A billboard in Finland states that it is legal for refugees to rape women.

In January 2016, several disreputable web sites such as USA Daily Politics and Jews News published a photograph purportedly showing a billboard in Finland that stated that it was legal for refugees arriving in that country to rape women:

rape billboard fake

This image does not depict a real billboard in Finland. It's a fake picture that has been circulating online since at least 2008 and was likely created back then in an attempt to tarnish Finland's Green League political party Vihreat.

The fabricated image was based on a real billboard that was posted by Doctors Without Borders in Liberia. The real billboard said nothing about "refugees" or Finland's Green League political party; instead, it instructed rape victims to "seek free treatment immediately" at a local clinic:

rape billboard real

The altered photograph, which was changed from its original to show three dark-skinned men assaulting a blonde woman, plays to popular racist tropes about swarthy men and helpless fair-skinned women, which has been used as an excuse for violence against minorities for generations.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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