FixedIt: Desire does not cause murder

The horrific details of Michael Cardamone’s crimes against Karen Chetcuti-Verbunt might be tempting to sensationalise, but it should only take a moment to remember that she was a real person not a meaningless cypher from a cheap thriller.

It’s beyond imaging what her family and friends have had to live through but we can make some small effort to do so and not add to their suffering with salacious headlines or by making implicit excuses for the man who murdered her.

Michael Cardamone did not murder Karen because of a “sexual interest” and the unspoken suggestion that she rejected his “interest” and thereby played any part in his choice to murder her is vile.

Rape and murder are not caused by desire, they are about power and control, and the belief common to violent men that they are entitled to violate women because women are objects to posses or dispose of, not people.

Reporting like this implicitly endorses that belief. When the media confirms that desire is a reason for murder it tells violent men that they are right to think their desire excuses and explains their choices.

It doesn’t.

Some cases seem to just send the media into a frenzy. Journalists and editors who do actually know better get caught up in the sensationalism and lose their minds. Michael Cardamone’s savage murder of Karen Chetcuti-Verbunt is one of those cases.

The headline above was from the ABC but they weren’t the only ones who failed in their reporting of this case. The Age, which almost never makes an appearance in FixedIt, produced this clanger as the lead in their report of Cardamone’s trial.

This murder absolutely should have been reported. It is very much in the public interest to know that Cardamone was on parole for raping a 15 year old girl and had already violated the conditions of his parole when he murdered Karen Chetcuti-Verbunt. There’s a good argument to be made that the savagery of the murder should be public knowledge because it informs public support for changing the way violent offenders are managed on parole. But there’s a line between keeping the public informed and sensationalising tragedy because you forgot you were writing about people’s lives. Crossing that line is never ok.

 

FixedIt is an ongoing project to push back against the media’s constant erasure of violent men and blaming of innocent victims. If you would like to help fund it – even $5 a month makes a big difference – please consider becoming a Patron

 


 

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