Adults in Australia can’t be charged for going on dates. Or for using dating apps. If they go on a date and their date alleges she was sexually assaulted, charges might be (but probably won’t be) laid. Dating is not a crime. Dating apps do not enable sexual assault. Violence is always a choice and apps don’t make choices, people do.

The Daily Telegraph appears to be having a little trouble with this concept. They are not the only ones. 

In this case, the man in question has only been charged, not convicted. It will be up to the court to determine his guilt or innocence. This commentary is not about that, it is only about the way the charges against him are represented in the media.

If a man and a woman meet on a dating app and the man later is accused of violence against the women, you can guarantee the app will always be blamed for the violence, not the man who committed it.

If a man and a woman meet at a church group or a book shop or over cabbages in Coles, it wouldn’t even rate a mention at the bottom of an article about any subsequent sexual violence.

But dating apps cause a problem for people who subscribe to rape myths, in which violence is the expected consequence for women who actively and confidently pursue sex. “Nice girls” wait passively for men to want them. They are objects of desire, they don’t have feelings of desire themselves because how can a thing have feelings? Only “bad girls” who feel and act on sexual desire. And we all know what happens to “bad girls”.

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

Dating apps have nothing to do with the choices men make. How two people met is irrelevant to the violence men choose to commit against women.

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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