FixedIt: he was not charged with “sex”

The Australian reported that Ian Stuart McAlpine is on trial in the WA District Court charged with 17 offences, including rape and indecent assault, which were allegedly committed between 1988 and 1990.

McApline denies all the charges and the trial is ongoing. The court will determine his guilt or innocence but the headline in the Australian is not an accurate representation of the charges against him. He is not on trial for sex. He is on trial for alleged rape and indecent assault.

Sex and rape are not words that can be used interchangeably. Sex requires consent and where consent exists, it is not a crime. Rape and indecent assault occur when there is no consent and, if proven, are serious crimes.

Journalism is supposed to keep people informed about what is happening in their society. When it confuses sex and rape in its reporting it contributes to confusing the two words in the public mind. Words matter. They need to be used carefully and accurately at all times but particularly when it comes to allegations of crimes against children.

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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