Another Daily Mail misogyny fail

I woke up around 6am this morning. After rearranging dogs so that I wasn’t clinging to the edge of the bed, I should have gone back to sleep. Instead I made that error of picking up my phone and looking at Twitter. Ok, so I might have wanted to see what people were saying about last night’s episode of Death in Paradise, but that’s not really an excuse.

What I saw enraged me. A Daily Mail headline asking “Did living in the shadow of his high achieving wife lead to unthinkable tragedy?” This referred to the murder of Epsom College head Emma Pattison and her 7 year old daughter by her husband.

That was bad enough, but then I discovered the previous day’s headline. Apparently the murderer was “desperate to do more with his days” after his business failed.

Suggesting that either of these things is remotely an excuse, particularly in a headline, perpetuates attitudes that have no place in a civilised society.

The media tries to construct a false narrative that women being murdered by their domestic partner  is “isolated” rather than two or three occurrences per week.


For as long as men have been abusing and murdering women, their excuses for doing so have carried much more weight in society than they deserve.

Women’s behaviour, clothes, sexual history, earnings, weight, or careers are just some of the things that have been blamed rather than the behaviour of the perpetrator themselves.

I am fed up of the media gaslighting women into believing that they are responsible for the behaviour of abusive men.

It’s high time every single journalist, editor and headline writer had on their desk the End Violence against Women Coalition’s excellent and recently updated  Media guidelines on violence against Women on their desks. They should check every story, every angle, every headline against them to make sure that they aren’t just lazily reproducing a misogynist trope or stereotype.

Had the Mail journalists done so before posting these stories, they would have read:

Avoid the narrative that one life event ‘led to’ any
violence that occurred.

Don’t use: The loss of job and financial pressure led
to murder; husband murders wife after her affair.
Phrasing stories this way makes it sound like
violence is an obvious next step in response to
these events, when in fact the only cause of the
violence was the perpetrator. Lots of people lose
their jobs or have an unfaithful partner and most
do not turn to abuse and violence. Women and girls
get stressed too, yet commit disproportionately
fewer violent crimes than men and boys. Job losses,
financial pressures, and affairs are not the cause of
VAWG: abusive men are.

One of the things that the guidelines say is that every report of violence against women should include helpline numbers where women experiencing abuse can seek advice. The Mail fails to do that.

We need people to call out journalists, or, better still, stop buying their papers until we get a better quality media, one which seeks to give an accurate account of the extent of violence against women and girls in our society. This is one of the many things we need to do to change our hopelessly misogynist culture and put us on a path to ending men’s violence against women and girls for good.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

Read more by or more about , , , , or .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Jack Nicholls 11th Feb '23 - 8:10pm

    Brilliant post Caron, and beyond dreadful that it is necessary. If I may add a thought; the description of it as a tragedy – used far too often in reports like this – compounds the lie of female (and broader victim) responsibility. This awful act fits neither the technical definition nor the folk understanding of the word tragedy. The former blames the victim, the latter suggest an unknowable confluence of events that unavoidably led to this end. Both serve to willfully obscure the reality.

    Furthermore, this kind of rhetoric comes from papers that tend to be rather hangem and floggem in their outlook (like the modern, compassionate conservative party). I have no ideological fellow feeling with their positions on criminal justice but, in line with the sentiment of your post, isn’t it interesting to observe for whom they make an exception?

  • David Garlick 12th Feb '23 - 12:09pm

    Great article and I can’t fault this one little bit.
    IT should be sent to the Editor of every newspaper, national and local, in the country.

    Daily Mail should devote a page to reprint it in full.

    Stranger things have happened but only if we try.

    Thank you Caron

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

This post has pre moderation enabled, please be patient whilst waiting for it to be manually reviewed. Liberal Democrat Voice is made up of volunteers who keep the site running in their free time.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • James Fowler
    Is the Dutch election result the end for PR? The sub text is that the PR debate here is very heavily skewed by the particular electoral history and system o...
  • Peter Martin
    @ Joe, "The reliance on money printing is clearly not working for the Argentine population..." All money is either printed or, more usually, cr...
  • Peter Hirst
    One consequence of the present conflict seems to be the further marginalisation of the Palestinians living in Gaza. They are increasingly seen as collateral dam...
  • Peter Hirst
    Election campaigning and voter behaviour are both influenced by the voting system. introducing PR is essential because it is fairer as seats match percentage vo...
  • Joe Bourke
    Peter Martin, there is always an alternative view in political economy. The course to be adopted is decided by elections. Professor Hanke is an advocate of ...