FixedIt: Irrelevant, unproven claims are not a headline

The Courier Mail is back again. This time they’ve used a man’s irrelevant and unproven accusations against his ex-partner to headline an article about how he called her up to 30 times a day, making her so scared of him that she couldn’t return to her home or her town. 

If you only saw the headline, or only saw the headline and the lead, or only the headline, the lead and the first two paragraphs, you could easily believe the man had taken his victim to court to sue her for infidelity (not a crime) and deliberately giving him an STD (not proven or relevant even if it were true).

It’s not until you get to the third paragraph that you realise the article is about the man breaching domestic violence orders, and even then, it’s apparently because it was “an attempt to find out where his ex-partner was”. Is this suggesting he is entitled to know where she was?

It’s not until paragraph 13 that we find out he pled guilty to two counts of breaching domestic violence orders.

As we have seen far too many times, men who believe they are entitled to control women’s lives are dangerous. No responsible journalist leads a story like this with the phrase “A jilted boyfriend”, which implies he is the victim of a wicked, faithless woman. He is not. He is the perpetrator of domestic violence.

Breaching domestic violence orders is not a small thing. Men who do this always have an excuse, but that never make their actions excusable.

There is no justification for including his unproven, irrelevant claim in the headline while erasing the choices he made to abuse a woman and break the the law.

Endorsing excuses for abuse in this way is lazy, ignorant, dangerous and stupid. 

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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