FixedIt: A woman is not a toilet

The Chinchilla News reported that two men in their mid twenties were convicted of raping a woman in London.

The woman wasn’t included in the headline about the men who raped her. The toilet was apparently a more important detail.

It’s difficult to know exactly why the “toilet rape” line was used. According to the article, the two men took the woman into a maintenance room to rape her. They then left her injured and bleeding in the toilets at the Toy Room Club in Soho. They were later filmed laughing and high-fiving over mobile phone video of the rape.

This is a common problem in rape reporting. The victim is replaced by the location in a headline. We’ve had laneway rapists, alley rapists, backyard rapists and roadside rapists. All those men raped women, not lanes, alleys, backyards or roadsides.

In this case, the men were convicted of raping a woman. They filmed it and gloated over it later. This is a revolting and serious crime. The woman and all other women deserve better than having her rape described as a “toilet rape”.

The men themselves were also erased from the headline. Their actions after the rape were mentioned but the men who raped a woman, and the woman they raped were somehow erased from a headline about the rape.

UPDATE: It’s worth noting that the Chinchilla News is a small regional paper and they did not write this headline or the article. The original article came from UK outlet The Scottish Sun. Syndication would have pushed it through any number of News Corp publications. It’s difficult to know where this headline came from, given most of the News Corp outlines did not publish the “toilet rape” phrase. The most likely explanation is that it was written by a sub editor somewhere in the News Corp offices, changed before it went live and for some reason the change didn’t filter through to the smaller outlets. Fixed It is not and has never been about any individual publication or organisation. Every major publisher in Australia has been in Fixed It at some point in the last four years. The point is that this is a systemic problem across all media and change is not about any specific journalist, editor or masthead.

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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