FixedIt: Erasing a violent man from a headline and replacing him with a house? Really?

Not the first fix on a story about the horrific attack (see yesterday’s post about the invisible assailant) but it seems that the Cairns Post wanted to go one further than erasing the alleged perpetrator from the headline, they replaced him with a house.

Not content with that baffling piece of “journalism”, they then proceeded to remove both the victim and the crime from the headline. Admittedly it doesn’t leave them much to work with, which explains the lack of anything resembling information in the headline, but why go to such lengths to hide the story? Why is the truth of men’s violence against women so threatening that all hints of it have to be removed?

Erasing men’s violence from headlines is not a small matter. Jackson Katz’ TED talk on male violence and how we talk about it is well worth the 17 minutes it takes to watch, but this quote is central to the invisible perpetrators issue:

It starts with a very basic English sentence: “John beat Mary.” That’s a good English sentence. John is the subject, beat is the verb, Mary is the object, good sentence. Now we’re going to move to the second sentence, which says the same thing in the passive voice. “Mary was beaten by John.” And now a whole lot has happened in one sentence. We’ve gone from “John beat Mary” to “Mary was beaten by John.” We’ve shifted our focus in one sentence from John to Mary, and you can see John is very close to the end of the sentence, well, close to dropping off the map of our psychic plain. The third sentence, John is dropped, and we have, “Mary was beaten,” and now it’s all about Mary. We’re not even thinking about John, it’s totally focused on Mary. Over the past generation, the term we’ve used synonymous with “beaten” is “battered,” so we have “Mary was battered.” And the final sentence in this sequence, flowing from the others, is, “Mary is a battered woman.” So now Mary’s very identity — Mary is a battered woman — is what was done to her by John in the first instance. But we’ve demonstrated that John has long ago left the conversation.

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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