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“Are you not entertained?”

“Are you not entertained?”

“Are you not entertained?”- Why family violence is currently front page material for all the wrong reasons

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a cliché when it comes to being a redhead with a temper. The issue that has recently attracted my ire is that of the deranged chef in Queensland who brutally murdered and then ATE his partner. To say this crime is horrific is an understatement. However, what is more horrific is the front page of Queensland’s own Courier Mail in response to the crime. The front page showed a picture of the victim wearing a bikini and in a provocative pose, with the headline “Monster Chef and the She Male”.

The fact that Ms Prasetyo was a trans-gender female and an escort is irrelevant. That the media has spun the story to put those two facts front and centre reeks of victim-shaming. Honestly, it’s 2014 and we are still perpetuating the “she had it coming” defense?  She was a real person, with a family and a life, and that life was taken away from her by the man that she was married to. By the way, her Mother has told reporters that she worked as an escort to support her family and put her little sisters through school- you don’t see that in any headlines do you?

Violence in domestic partnerships is a serious issue. Victims can be male or female and of any age. Violence can be physical, verbal or emotional. Many victims don’t report abuse for various reasons, whether it is because of feelings of shame or fear that the violence will escalate and be redirected towards others (including children). I have had clients in the past who could not bring themselves to leave for fear that their partner’s rage would turn on their children, and that they would be abused or even killed.

It is not society’s or the media’s role to judge the victim. It is society’s role to question itself and ask “what can we do to change to ensure this does not happen again?”

I’d also like to take this opportunity to point out that it is currently Mental Health week. This awful crime may have been avoided if Ms Prasetyo’s husband had obtained the help that he clearly needed, and two senseless deaths may have been avoided.

Free counselling helplines are run by the Department for Child Protection and Family Services for women on 1800 007 339 and men on 1800 000 599.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2020

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