Opinion: Dear The Tab, you should apologise for the way you reported Grace Millane’s murder

0 306

Like many young Britons when they graduate, Grace Emmie Rose Millane decided to go travelling abroad on her gap year. Grace spent six weeks in South America before flying to New Zealand in November 2018, where she was tragically murdered.

A recent graduate in advertising and marketing from the University of Lincoln, Grace Millane had only spent days in Auckland and turned 22 on the day she was reported missing by her parents back in the UK. Grace Millane was a well-loved ‘Essex girl’ who has had her name, her character and her sex life dragged through the mud by the media, including The Tab, a website aimed at university students.

There are certain online and print publications that we expect (not that it’s an excuse) to talk about young women in a derogatory way. However, The Tab should have thought differently about publishing an article written by student journalist Diyora Shadijanova, about Grace, titled ‘Grace Milane belonged to BDSM sites and had ex-boyfriend choke her, court hears’.

Grace was murdered because a man decided to murder her, not because of ‘consensual sex’ gone wrong. Grace’s private life is exactly that – private. She should be given the dignity and respect that she deserves through responsible and respectable headlines, not those that are shocking, derogatory and used for clickbait, which only serve to increase the author’s rank in likes and shares. Grace’s private messages between her and her killer may be important to the trial, but her belonging to online ‘BDSM websites’ should not be the topic of conversation, and certainly not the headline of an article.

In court, defence barrister Ron Mansfield described Grace as a “loving, bright, intelligent young woman”, and told the jury that “the fact that we need to discuss what she liked to do in the bedroom should have no impact on her reputation at all.” Yet Mansfield, and a lot of media publications, are pushing the narrative that Grace’s death was because of ‘sex gone wrong’ rather than because the man responsible for her death was a cold, hard killer who the prosecutor said was “not distressed by Millane’s death” and who “calmly, coldly, and methodologically was trying to break any link between himself and Miss Millane.”

By writing such a salacious headline, The Tab is diminishing Grace Millane’s character and inadvertently blaming her for her own murder. Grace was tragically murdered, not because of what she likes behind closed doors, but because a man decided to murder her.

As student journalists, we can’t control what ‘big media’ is writing, but we can control what we write, and therefore influence student perspectives around the country. We all should be in collective solidarity with Grace, with her family, and with every single woman in the UK and around the globe that die by, quite literally, the hands of men. We need to honour the memory of Grace and not entertain the misogynistic narrative that clouds her and her murder trial.

We Can’t Consent to This, a group which campaigns against sexual violence against women, has found that a shocking fifty-nine British women have been killed in apparent ‘sex gone wrong scenarios’, whilst in the last five years the defence was successful nine times, with the men involved either being found not guilty or receiving a manslaughter conviction.

Grace and the fifty-nine other women died for nothing. The least they and their family deserve is to be written about in a respectful way, with a narrative based on their murder’s decisions, not theirs.

Dear The Tab, you should take down the article or issue an apology.

About the author / 

Shawna Healey

I'm Shawna, 20 and Welsh studying Geography at MMU. I have varying interests and opinions but usually its all things feminism.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More News Stories:

  • Andy Burnham Grilled Over The Use of Stop and Search on BAME Communities in Manchester

    Manchester Metropolitan University hosted a discussion on ‘The Effects of Stop and Search’ by EQUAL, a criminal justice group supporting racial equality in the criminal justice system on 14th January. Joining the panel was Mayor Andy Burnham, who agreed that stop and search powers in Manchester are being used in a discriminatory manner. Andy Burnham…

  • Film Review: Little Women Is a Classic Tale for the Modern Age

    Greta Gerwig first marched onto the directing scene with her 2017 film Lady Bird, earning great success and critical acclaim for her depiction of the mother-daughter dynamic. Gerwig has now shifted her focus to the bond between sisters in her new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s literary classic, Little Women, following the lives of the…

  • Live At Leeds 2020: The Top 5 Acts In the Line-Up You Cannot Miss

    With January’s winter blues heavy upon us, it’s time to start looking ahead towards summer. Live At Leeds is coming back with a bang to Leeds city centre on the 2nd of May 2020, boasting headliners such as indie heavyweights DMA’s and alt-rock staples Pale Waves. And if that’s not enough to seal the deal,…

  • Preview: JOHN (TIMESTWO) @ The Deaf Institute

    Crystal-Palace duo JOHN (TIMESTWO) are set to headline The Deaf Institute in Manchester next Wednesday, bringing along the energy and vigour that they are known best for with their savage punk-influenced alt-rock style. JOHN comprises of drummer and vocalist John Newton and guitarist John Healey (hence the band name). However, even though it’s just the…