The controversial “Connie” dress has made a return to the Shoalhaven.
The dress made from condoms is a Northern Illawarra Youth Project initiative which aims to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases by promoting safe-sex practices such as condom usage.
This will be the dress’ second visit to the region after it first made an appearance last year.
While that visit caused some controversy, with Shoalhaven City Councillor Andrew Guile claiming it bought “shame and embarrassment” to the region, Mayor Joanna Gash believes the dress is an important tool for safe-sex education.
“Connie is an important education tool as she provides the community a unique opportunity to kick start an open and frank conversation regarding both condom usage and the threat of sexually transmitted infection,” Cr Gash said.
“It is of major concern that sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, HIV and gonorrhoea have all increased across Australia at an alarming rate in recent years.
“Left untreated, a sexually transmitted infection can lead to anything from painful health consequences to ectopic pregnancy or infertility and even cancer.
“I encourage all local residents to come into the entertainment centre and view Connie while also taking a more proactive attitude towards condom usage and sexual health in general.”
Cr Guile stuck by his original opposition to the dress being exhibited in the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre, a venue he said was supposed to be family friendly.
“There was so much outrage the last time it was here, I was surprised by it,” Cr Guile said.
“The number of calls I received from people complaining about it was phenomenal.”
Cr Guile said there was no evidence the dress raised awareness among young people.
“We’re talking about the most sexualised generation of young people we have ever seen. What they lack is the ability to understand the benefits of quality relationships. This dress doesn’t help in any way to start that conversation.”
Connie will be available for viewing at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre from September 1-15.