This week, news.com.au ran a piece titled “Female sex attacker’s horror demand”, with the byline, “A woman has been thrown behind bars after sexually assaulting a stranger she followed down a Melbourne Street before issuing a shocking demand.”
A woman has been thrown behind bars after sexually assaulting a stranger she followed down a Melbourne street before issuing a shocking demand. https://t.co/VvxwgpGGUc— news.com.au (@newscomauHQ) December 7, 2021
Except the attacker was not a woman. It was a man who identifies as one. The attacker, transgender woman Lisa Jones, had previously spent six years in a male prison in Germany for sexually abusing a six-year-old-girl, before transitioning.
The backlash against the false reporting was swift with many on social media using the hashtag #NotOurCrimes and pointing out that it is men who are predominantly the perpetrators of sexual violence, and women who are predominantly the victims.
The problem with this framing of the narrative is that it positions women as the sex offender/aggressor when 99.9% of the time it’s women that are sexually assaulted by males. A woman did not do this. These are not our crimes. #NotOurCrimes https://t.co/yG4wwsIJro— serialsockthief (@serialsockthief) December 7, 2021
And this is why we should not comply to the use of "woman" to describe a male, because it is never enough, now they want the word "female" too.— Audrey (@Audrey_7777777) December 7, 2021
Not a woman. Might call themselves one, might even have a piece of paper that says they should, in law, be treated as one, but that person is not, has never been & never will be, a woman.— CJ Smith (@cadenzasmith) December 7, 2021
You demean the experience of the woman who was attacked.
In a post on Facebook, Tasmanian Senator Claire Chandler called out the false reporting, and posed some very pertinent questions:
“Australian media’s false reporting of a male pedophile and sex attacker as a “female” has rightly caused outrage around the world.
Here’s some questions Australian media need to be asking to redeem themselves:
1) Will this person be placed in a male or female prison by the Andrews Government?
2) Do public bodies who insist that “anyone who identifies as a woman is a woman” recognise this sex offender as a woman?
3) Under the self-ID model, this man who spent 6 years in prison for sexually abusing a 6 year old girl, is entitled to access women’s facilities used by young girls. Is this appropriate?
4) If a woman or girl had expressed concern about this sex offender entering a women’s facility (or does so in the future), would they be listened to or treated as a bigot?
5) Why is a convicted pedophile able to alter his legal documents with the stroke of a pen to be legally identified as a woman?
6) Are police and intelligence authorities notified when a convicted child sex offender changes his legal gender identity? If not, why not?
7) Why did a mainstream media outlet choose to refer to a male pedophile and sex offender as “she”, “female” and “a woman”? Who are the people/groups/authorities who would be upset if you accurately reflected this dangerous criminal’s sex in your reporting? And why is avoiding offending them more important than clear, precise reporting?
When are you going to start taking seriously the women and women’s rights groups who have been raising these entirely foreseeable issues for years?”