It seems the Globe and Mail’s original headline
“Tina Fontaine had drugs, alcohol in system when she was killed: toxicologist.”
has been changed to
Expert tells Winnipeg murder trial he could not determine cause of Tina Fontaine’s death
though the link
still carries the original victim-shaming headline.
It took the Assembly Of Manitoba Chiefs to write a letter to the Globe to do anything about it.
A fifteen-year-old is murdered. The end. As in, the end. What she wore or did does not matter. We do not give a death penalty in this country for hitmen whose body counts are in the three digits, but it’s okay for some grown man to decide whether someone who isn’t hurting anyone lives or dies?
Victim-blaming has always been a staple in journalism. Somehow, someway, it is always the victim’s fault.
I had a wonderful sociology professor as an undergrad, and he made a point I still carry with me: he noted how the press always took to task young women who get raped at night as they were standing at a bus stop, with the implicating question what was she doing there? He said she probably was coming home to work from a night shift — and even if she wasn’t, she wasn’t hurting anyone, but her rapist was…
So what was he doing there?
If the press means to imply that one of those two should be the subject of a curfew, he said the best course of action was to place men under curfew if they cannot be trusted to leave people alone at bus stops.
He was the one with destructive intentions. The woman was standing there waiting for public transit.
But the press always blames the victims. They never fail. They never ask questions; so they assume they ought to follow the predator’s lead and attack the weaker person, too.
Psychologists call that defective thinking The Just-World Hypothesis. Journalism does it all the time.
The problem is that it infects the information stream, and then people do not question it, never thinking what they are actually thinking isn’t just immoral, but potentially lethal.
If journalism was functional, they’d be going after predators who cause the problems. They would be wondering how a system so horrifically failed a fifteen-year-old girl repeatedly, and made her vulnerable on the last night of her life.
It is absolutely disgraceful and unhelpful.
Why isn’t Canada a civilized country in 2018?
Why do we allow governments and the media to blame victims?
And how do we stop it before another fifteen-year-old dies because of it?