Hey The Guardian, I rewrote this article on ‘violence against women’ for you

Agnes Otzelberger
3 min readJul 14, 2021

Dear Guardian,

Let’s start with a guy’s words — those tend to carry more weight than those of a woman, right? — : Jackson Katz says the term ‘violence against women’ is ‘a passive construction, there’s no active agent in the sentence…nobody is doing it to them. It just happens to them, men aren’t even a part of it.’ Surely, I thought, after #metoo and Sarah Everard, the conversation might have changed? But no.

When I spotted this recent article among your news headlines, I counted for you.

The number of times you mention ‘women’, ‘girls’, or ‘female’? Twenty-nine. Thirty-four if you include the mention of the names of the women abducted, raped and killed as well as the stock photo at the top, which also features a woman.

The number of times you talk about ‘men’, ‘boys’ or ‘male’: Zero.

Not a single mention of the demographic we really need to be talking about and supporting to end this epidemic: The demographic who reportedly committed, for example, 98% of reported cases of rape and assault by penetration in 2019/20, or constituted the majority (92%) of defendants in domestic abuse-related prosecutions in 2018/19 in the UK. Or the men who killed the victims named in this piece.

Violence against women is not a ‘women’s issue’. It is, by and large, a men’s issue. And publishing a 580-word article about this epidemic of violence without mentioning the demographic behind this violence in a single word is a (not so) subtle but effective form of victim blaming.

So, dear Guardian, I know last week you were really busy and distracted reporting the Euro 2020 (and while we’re at it, how about we call it the “Men’s Euro 2020?”) and omitting the dismantling of our right to protest this mess from your news coverage. So I thought I’d give you a hand and rewrite this piece for you.


A tired female data-point

Here’s my re-write of your article from 7 July 2021: