Re-writing the pro-rape Facebook story

I wasn’t going to blog about the “Define Statutory” Facebook page set up by some male students at St Paul’s college at Sydney University. It’s a disgusting story about some privileged misogynistic wankers who think it’s cool to be sex offenders.

But what I do want to write about is the way readers’ opinions are shaped by the way stories are written. It’s an SMH story, but did a re-write. (AAP would have also done one.)

What left out was that the group tagged the page as “anti-consent” and “pro-rape”. Look at the comments on the story – it’s an ill-informed debate about statutory rape because the “anti-consent” description is missing, and readers are dismissing the “pro-rape” in the headline as a media beat-up. (I guess I don’t need to point out the higher quality of the comments on the story at

The problem is that readers – and readers of any site with an inferior re-write – will have a completely different understanding of the story, and each time it happens, readers will dismiss rape stories as just media beat-ups.

Update: Jezebel has a great piece on how Facebook allows this “hilarious” pro-rape group in the “Sports and Recreation” category, but doesn’t allow women to post photos of themselves breastfeeding.

2 responses to “Re-writing the pro-rape Facebook story

  1. I always find the difference in angles taken by News Ltd and FFX (in Australia more so than NZ) pretty shocking.

    I’ll always remember one story on SMH about a gay couple’s journey through adoption. It was a gorgeous story about how this couple had fought long and hard to adopt a baby.

    It was re-written for News with a headline along the lines of ‘Gay men buy baby boy’. And the obligatory ‘family group’ saying how wrong it was and ‘CALLING-FOR-ACTION!’.

    News is pretty fucking useless at naming those ‘family groups’ as the right wing fundy militants that they are.

    There is definite spin when it comes to News re-writes in my opinion anyway…

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