Fixed it: Father’s Day does not cause violence

September 3, 2019by Jane Gilmore

The Ballarat Courier reported that a man pleaded guilty in the Ballarat Magistrates Court to aggravated assault and threats to kill. The article reports that the court heard the man had previously been convicted of threatening to inflict serious injury in a family violence context. 

The myth that custody disputes cause domestic violence is pervasive, and it’s tied to another pervasive myth that women lie about domestic abuse to win custody of their children. This is almost never true, in fact it is far more likely that women who are trying to protect their children from abusive fathers will be disbelieved and punished by the family court for even making the allegations.

Court reporting is not an easy job and the article itself is a reasonably good example of the way journalists have to report the proceedings without adding any commentary or opinion on what was said in court.

However, using the headline to promot the excuse a convicted perpetrator of domestic abuse gives for the violence he chose to enact is dangerous. It perpetuates the myth that women make up claims about domestic violence (more than half the people surveyed in a recent community attitudes study believe this) and erases the responsibility of the man who chose to use violence.

Headlines matter and this is why FixedIt exists.

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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© Jane Gilmore 2014