FixedIt: because women who are allegedly raped are part of the story about the alleged rape

The Brisbane Times reports that a man charged with raping choking two women has been released on bail, despite claims he continues to seek out women through online dating sites. 

The women he is accused of raping were not even mentioned in the headline. “Tinder” was, of course, at the front of the sentence, because if a man and a woman meet on Tinder and the man later is accused of violence against the women, you can guarantee Tinder will be the focus of any headline in any article about that accusation and the women will be erased. (See here for numerous examples)

If they had met at a church group or a book shop or over cabbages in Coles, it wouldn’t even rate a mention in the article.

But Tinder is always relevant because violence is the expected consequence for women who actively and confidently pursue sex. “Nice women” are passive objects of desire. “Bad women” feel desire and act on it without shame, so of course they should be punished.

It’s an insidious and persistent form of victim blaming. It implies Tinder is the problem, not the men who commit violence against women (in this case allegedly – his case has not yet been tried).

Tinder does not cause rape. It may be a means by which men find victims, but so are private homes (the most likely place for rape to occur), intimate partners (the most likely person to commit rape) and “friends” or acquaintances (the next most likely people to commit rape).

(as always, if you’re reading this on social media, links are in the OP at www.patreon.com/JaneGilmore )

To be clear, the man has not yet been tried and he is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Only the court can find him guilty or not guilty. This commentary is not speculating on his guilt or innocence, it is specifically and only about how men’s violence against women is reported in the media. 

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

If you would like to know more about how and why the media’s erasure of men’s violence against women occurs, the Fixed It book is out now! Buy your copy here or at any good bookstore. Extracts available on why Fixed It started inThe Guardian, rape and other violence myths in The Age/Sydney Morning Herald and the Good Guy trope on my website.

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

Djirra – Aboriginal Family Violence Response & Support Service
9am – 9pm, Monday to Friday
Ph: 1800 105 303
djirra.org.au 

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

Kids Helpline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Phone: 1800 55 1800
www.kidshelp.com.au

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

Men’s Referral Service
Monday – Friday – 8am-9pm
Weekends – 9am-6pm
Ph: 1300 766 491
www.ntv.org.au/get-help