Outrage at Australian media outlet for falsely reporting male sex attacker as “female”

Outrage at Australian media outlet for falsely reporting male sex attacker as “female”

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.”

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.

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?”

When, indeed?

Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.

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