FixedIt: here’s the rest of the story

The Daily Mercury reported that John Rex Palmer, 34, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for an assault against his now deceased partner and the neighbour who tried to help her. The assault occurred while she was ill and in front of her young children. Not only is none of this information in the headline, Palmer himself isn’t there.

Once again, the man who committed crimes against a woman is erased from the headlines.

Invisible perpetrators are a constant in FixedIt. This is not a trivial issue. It matters because headlines are supposed to be a short summary of the article and when the article is about violence men commit against women and those men are invisible, the headline is not telling the story, it’s erasing the story.

Clarity in reporting and avoiding the passive voice and are among the first things journalists are taught. Which is why the constant use of passive voice and unclear reporting on violence against women stands out so much.

If all the violent crimes committed by men were reported in the active voice with the perpetrators and their crime as the subject of every headline, it would be overwhelming. Because it is overwhelming.

We are journalists and it is not our job to erase the truth so our audience is not made to feel uncomfortable. Our job is to describe what is happening in our society. And the sad truth is that around 90 percent of violent crimes are committed by men. Avoiding this fact doesn’t make it less true but it does make it much more difficult to address the underlying cause.

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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