Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

The Sun shifting the focus onto perp’s wife who stayed

Teacher Raped Pupil – so why does the Sun make it’s headline all about his wife?

A recent Sun headline stated “wife stands by teacher hubby who fathered child with pupil”.
Now, for a start, I’m already angry about newspaper reports telling us that teachers have had ‘relationships’ with pupils, instead of reporting the truth which is abuse, rape and a vile exploitation of trust and authority (I know that in some cases they are quoting directly from the court room, and that in itself is infuriating).

So let’s focus on the facts of this case: a grown man who taught this pupil from the age of 13 not only had some sick attraction to a child in his care but also acted on it, going on to start a so-called ‘sexual relationship’ (rape) from the age of 17, later getting her pregnant.
Now don’t get me wrong I imagine few of us can imagine why his wife would stay with him – perhaps he has a hold over her, as he did with his victim – but nevertheless his wife has not committed a crime. She is not the one in court accused of this despicable abuse of a child in her care. No, in fact I would say she is also a victim of this man’s terrible behaviour.

By writing this headline, The Sun seems to be drawing our attention to his wife rather than the perpetrator himself and maybe they want to create anger from some readers such as “How could she stay with him?”

But doesn’t she deserve our sympathy rather than our wrath? And shouldn’t the headline and the story be about the real crime here – that a teacher abused his position and abused his pupil (and that in doing so he also abused his wife’s trust?)

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