The media has always had a responsibility to report the truth, as best as they can, and to remain as neutral as possible to their position. Domestic violence reporting in this country should be quite simple. A person is injured or killed, report the facts and call it for what it was. Domestic violence.
That’s how things would be in a perfect world, and when domestic violence exists, the world is clearly not perfect, and neither is its reporting.
Since Malcolm Turnbull announced a ten-year campaign to end violence against women and their children, domestic violence reporting has made a rather dramatic change. A government-funded organization, know as Ourwatch (Our women and children) was created to focus on highlighting violence women face in society.
One of its weapons in its lethal arsenal was the use of the media.
Numerous awareness campaigns have been created highlighting the apparent gendered nature of domestic violence and have attempted to change social attitudes by the way of education. This is all well and good as long as it doesn’t affect the truth in reporting. And this is where the issue starts.
Since the ten-year violence against women and their children campaign started, domestic violence reporting has had a major shift in the way they report on domestic violence incidents. And its all about gender.
You would no doubt have noticed that when the victim of a domestic violence incident happens to be female, the phrase ‘Domestic Violence’ is nearly overly used in the reporting. I have counted up to ten mentions of the phrase in one article.
According to government-funded domestic violence campaigns such as Ourwatch, ANROWS or White Ribbon, clearly state that domestic violence does not discriminate. and that men can also be victims. However, someone seems to have forgotten to mention this to the media.
When a male is the victim of a domestic violence incident, or the female is the perpetrator, the phrase ‘domestic violence’ is omitted from the article. It’s not mentioned at all. A lot of the times, it does not mention the relationship between the male victim, nor the female perpetrator. Instead, it tends to describe the relationship by stating “It’s believed the man and the women were known to each other”. Why the reluctance to state their relationship? In some cases, the articles are even written from the perspective as the female being the victim. Such as the article below.
So why is this a problem? Because the media is powerful. The Nazi’s rise to power was mainly achieved by the power of propaganda, through newspapers and print of the time. The media has a responsibility to report the news and to attempt to remain apolitical.
By reporting domestic violence in this fashion, we are misleading the Australian public. People are associating the words “domestic violence” with female victims.
Female victims are also heavily focused on. When Eurydice Dixon was murdered in 2018, the reports lasted for days. During that time, two men were killed by their female partners. One was set on fire in a shocking case of domestic violence. It got hardly any mainstream reporting.
The media has also moved into the realm of cyberspace. And now even Google appears to be in on it. When I have gone to re-look at old cases of female perpetrators, I am unable to find the articles in Google searches. It seems that Google even suppresses the information. Try it for yourself.
So why does the media fail to provide truth in reporting? One can only speculate. Outwatch has a yearly media award known as the Wakely awards. It’s a rather prestigious award. The award is given to those who can best raise awareness and focus on reporting violence against women. Well, what is a better way to do that than completely exclude men? It’s just a theory, but a sound one.
The Wakely awards. Everybody wants one.