Our captured media really showed their bias in the reporting on the tragedy at Tullamarine, in Melbourne where the bodies of a mother and three children were discovered on January 14. The ABC led the charge, with their thinly veiled account which highlighted the fact that the father of the children was “assisting police with inquiries”. Using the classic journalist’s fake nod to fair reporting, the story mentioned that there was no history of family violence but then featured prominently a list of family violence support services bang in the middle of the article.
All the media stories waxed lyrical about this caring, protective mother who adored her children, and wasted few words on the devastated father who had called the police to report the tragedy. One report in The Australian suggested the father had been led away in handcuffs by police, which wasn’t true. He was apparently never really a suspect and certainly was not charged.
By the next day, police had released their conclusion that this was a murder/suicide perpetrated by the mother. Boy, did that take the wind out of the sails of these prejudiced reporters. Within two days the story was forgotten with only the occasional piece appearing, often featuring heart-wrenching letters written by schoolfriends of the little children. No one seems to want to write about this devoted father who has seen his entire family wiped out. No investigatory reporting on how and why this happened.
Now that we know the mother was the perpetrator, how come we see absolutely no reporting about exactly how these poor children were killed? If the father had been responsible, the media would have delighted in exposing grisly details of why crime scene cleaners were required at the house.
Naturally, most of the media isn’t interested in highlighting the fact that women are just as likely as men to commit filicide, killing their own children. Currently mothers are actually more likely to do so than fathers in Australia. But have a look at this telling piece from Denise Buiten, a sociology and social justice lecturer from Notre Dame – “Men and women kill their children in roughly equal numbers and we need to understand why.”
The answer is pretty simple, according to Buiten. When it comes to perpetrators of filicide, the women are mad and the men bad.
It’s all part of our biased justice system where the gender of the perpetrator influences the outcome from the moment a crime is reported.