Not sorry not sorry

The Guardian cautiously mentions that inciting violence against women may not be entirely admirable.

The government’s lead adviser on domestic abuse has written to the editor of the Sun to condemn the newspaper’s decision to publish a front page interview with JK Rowling’s first husband, under the headline: “I slapped JK and I’m not sorry.”

In the letter seen by the Guardian, Nicole Jacobs, the independent domestic abuse commissioner, said it was “unacceptable that the Sun has chosen to repeat and magnify the voice of someone who openly admits to violence against a partner”.

Of someone? A partner? It was a man who openly brags of hitting a woman and saying he would do it again. It’s not a gender-neutral someone who brags of hitting and it’s not a gender-neutral partner he does it to. It’s a man doing it to a woman. If we can’t name these specifics we don’t even know what we’re talking about – everything becomes random and mystifying and unfixable.

“The media can play a vital role in shining a light on this issue and bringing it out of the shadows, but articles such as this one instead feed the shame that so many survivors will feel every day, minimising their experiences and allowing perpetrators to continue to abuse without fear of consequence,” Jacobs wrote to Victoria Newton, who was appointed the Sun’s editor in February.

“I am troubled knowing that this article comes at a particularly difficult and dangerous time for victims and survivors, many of whom are being forced to stay under lockdown conditions with their perpetrator. The huge increases in calls to helplines is testament to that.”

Still all gender-neutral language – thus drawing a tactful veil over the fact that this is overwhelmingly a crime against women by men, on account of how men have a large physical advantage and a bigger supply of available aggression.

Domestic abuse claims the lives of around 100 people every year, and last year there were 2.4 million adult victims.

The Guardian too: gender-neutral.

Don’t say “women.” It never pays.

Finally, someone does say it.

Jane Keeper, the director of operations at Refuge, said: “The front page of the Sun this morning is as irresponsible as it is disappointing.

“It would ordinarily be troubling for such an editorial decision to be made – but to run with this during lockdown, when demand to Refuge’s national domestic abuse helpline have increased by 66%, is shocking. What this has done is give national media coverage to a perpetrator of domestic abuse to attempt to justify his actions.

“It is never acceptable to hit a woman. The first ‘slap’ can lead to a pattern of violence – and domestic abuse is against the law.”

And it’s evil and wrong.

Jess Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, tweeted that the Sun headline was “awful”.

Gillian Martin, a member of the Scottish parliament, wrote on Twitter that the article would be “beyond triggering for many abuse survivors, and enabling to abusers”.

“It is irresponsible and dangerous. I could weep for the way women are treated by the tabloid press – still – in 2020,” she said.

Tabloids on the one hand and Guardianists on the other. Women can’t catch a break.

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