The Townsville Bulletin has the dubious honour of being the inspiration for my first ever fixed  headline, in which a selfie apparently caused a stabbing murder (!!) 

Eight years later and here they are still erasing victims (a woman is not a hockey stick) and minimising a violent man’s responsibility for his choice to use violence.

This man was convicted of breaking into a woman’s house a few days after their relationship ended, hitting her in the head with a hockey stick, then using it to break her arm. His excuse was his claim she was “having sex with other men”.

He used the same excuse when he was convicted of punching her in the face in 2012 and again in 2021 when he smashed her window and threated “to bash her”. Far too many men rely on this excuse and it’s bullshit.

“She cheated” as an excuse for men’s violence is victim blaming. It relies on the myth that women are manipulative, duplicitous, and cruel – and are deliberately tormenting helpless men. It tells other men to understand, sympathise, and blame the victim not the perpetrator. Violent men keep using this excuse because it works.

This kind of headline is still common, but it’s not ubiquitous as it was back in 2015 when Fixed It started. Obviously, this is not just because of Fixed It. It’s changing because of all the other advocates (looking at you Tarang Chawla) and the thousands of people who contact the publications to protest and demand better journalism.

Change is never about one person or one action. It’s always about the unstoppable force of an accumulation of people and actions. Knowing there is a problem, being angry about it, talking about it, protesting it, and rejecting it are all essential elements of that accumulation. We know this is how to create change because it is the only thing that has ever worked.

I don’t wish you a happy International Women’s Day, because IWD was never intended to make women happy. IWD is about rage against injustice, protest, collective action, and change. I do wish you all those things.


Jane Gilmore’s books Fixed It and Fairy Tale Princesses Will Kill Your Children explore all the reasons these myths exist and continue to hold such power.

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