FixedIt: Another day, another violent man made invisible in the headlines

August 18, 2017by Jane Gilmore

Another report on an alleged vicious domestic violence attack, another invisible man.

The North West Star reported on a man who allegedly attacked a woman in public, the article quoted police as saying the attack was the subject of a domestic violence investigation.

But again, the attacker didn’t rate a mention in the headline, nor did the ongoing presence of domestic violence.

Violent men should not be erased from the headlines, they should be the subject of the article, not the object, and certainly not the invisible factor.

It’s worth revisiting Jackson Katz’ excellent TED talk on how and why this matters.

John beat Mary – Active voice: John is the subject, beat is the verb, Mary is the object

Mary was beated by John – Passive voice: Mary is now the focus, not John, he’s dropped back to the end of the sentence.

Mary was beaten – John has disappeared completely, all that’s left is Mary. She is the subject and the focus, so instead of thinking about his actions and his choices, we are left to wonder about hers. It’s implicit victim blaming.

Victims are never the cause of domestic violence. They can be the focus of the story if we are talking about the effects or the services needed to help them.

But when the article is about the facts of domestic violence, the focus is the source and the cause, which is always the perpetrators.

Victims are never to blame for the violence committed against them. there is only one thing that causes violence and that is the choice to do it and the person who made that choice.

Words matter.

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

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

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800

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

Child Wise National Abuse Helpline
Mon-Fri: 9 am – 5 pm
Ph: 1800 99 10 99

© Jane Gilmore 2014