FixedIt: Erasing men’s violence against women

The Townsville Bulletin reported on a man charged with torture, rape and assault after allegedly holding a woman against her will for three days.

Police raided the residence last Friday, before charging the 26-year-old with torture, possession of drug utensils and two counts each of rape, assault occasioning bodily harm and common assault.

It is alleged he knew the victim and held her against her will between October 9 and October 12.

Despite the horrific nature of the charges, the man accused of these crimes is erased from the headlines, he simply doesn’t exist. The victim of the crime is the subject of the sentence.

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


1800 RESPECT
Sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling and support.
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
Ph: 1800 737 732
www.1800respect.org.au 

Suicide Call Back Service
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ph: 1300 659 467
www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
www.kidshelp.com.au

MensLine Australia
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1300 78 99 78
www.mensline.org.au

Child Wise National Abuse Helpline
Mon-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm

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