Sexual Violence and the Double Standards of the Australian Media

The Australian medias double standards when reporting issues of violence against women have come to light this past week.

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Double Standards

Perhaps subconsciously, the Australian media has demonstrated it’s double standards pertaining to its treatment of violent sexual offenders in its reporting just this week.

It concerns race and culture: major headlines on Australia’s news reporting sites detailed the violent sexual crimes which have become terrifyingly prevalent in India.

The sentencing of three men to death for the rape and murder of a college student in the Indian village of Kamduni has made major headlines in Australia, with reports highlighting the percentage increase of violent crime towards women in the country.

I am not discounting that this is a terrible problem facing a nation already struggling with extreme poverty and religious tension; my problem is with the Australian media’s double standards in reporting these crimes.

You may not have seen the other headline in the news in the past couple of days: it didn’t stay up on site for long and it didn’t really take up a large portion of the daily paper.

But three young Australian men have been released to return home after pleading guilty to the rape of a young Norwegian backpacker in the Croatian city of Split.

They had previously had their passports seized and were trapped in Croatia regarding the outcome of their trial. The case will return to court. However, the men’s lawyers cut a deal to get them off on a conditional jail sentence.

I’m not questioning the system of law regarding sexual assault in Croatia, as ridiculous as it sounds that three men who rape a 17-year old girl in a nightclub bathroom are allowed their freedom by paying $30,000 in reparations to the girl’s family.

I’m questioning the Australian media for failing to properly highlight the fact that three men who have raped a 17-year old girl in a nightclub bathroom are released back onto our streets.

This is where the double standards begin: in a time where sexual violence against women is actually on the rise and should be continually addressed, how can the Australian media sweep the return of three violent offenders to our streets under the rug?

The reason why the issue of three young Australian men raping an underage girl in Croatia doesn’t come to light is because it is more attention grabbing to highlight the death sentence of three men in India for raping and murdering a young college girl.

But I repeat: these men have been released to return to ours streets. They will be free to associate with one another and have gotten off with nothing more than a slight indent in their bank accounts for violently raping a young girl.

The media should be making a point of this, but because it’s three young Aussie lads taking part in some lousy behavior whilst doing what Australian youths love: backpacking. They don’t want to put a black mark on the Australian youth pilgrimage in Europe.

They don’t want to spoil the good time for our Aussies on vacation.

It would have been strange for Australia’s major news outlets to continually report on the case in a way (and don’t tell me that Australian reporting is objective) that vilifies the young men.

The Australian media chooses to take the standpoint of “bringing our own home” when an Australian commits a crime overseas and also choose to disregard the crime and punishment.

The media’s treatment of the Schapelle Corby case, Van Tuong Nguyen, and Chan and Sukamaran prove this. I don’t agree with the barbaric penalties imposed on these Australians, but the media opt to parade themselves as a champion of the people whilst undermining the laws of that nation and discounting the crimes these people committed.

I’m surprised that there wasn’t the same response for these men in Croatia, but I suppose Europe’s a bit far away to bother reporting on than our neighbors in Indonesia.

Shape up, mainstream Australian media. Realize that there’s a problem occurring in our houses, in our streets and parks, in our bars and nightclubs. Highlight this problem – shame the perpetrators.

Don’t sweep it under the rug when three of our own commit a heinous act of violence towards a woman and are allowed to return to our streets.

Don’t make it out that this is only a cultural problem in India; we need to be aware that there is a problem here too.