Share all sharing choices for: She was fatally strangled. The media is making it around her sex life.

A picture of elegant Millane during a vigil at civic Square top top December 12, 2018, in Wellington, new Zealand. Hagen Hopkins/Getty pictures
elegant Millane to be 21 years old as soon as she to be fatally strangled, stuffed right into a suitcase, and also buried in one area west the Auckland, new Zealand, in December 2018.

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Those facts room not in dispute, the Guardian reports. But the guy accused of killing her, who has actually not to be publicly named, said in his trial the she passed away accidentally during “violent sex.” and also so media outlets in the US and UK have chosen to emphasis on the particulars of her sexuality rather than the circumstances of she death.

A title at the brand-new York post reads, “Killed backpacker elegant Millane was right into choking, BDSM: court evidence.” The London Evening traditional took a comparable tone: “Grace Millane to be member the BDSM dating sites and also asked ex-partner to choke her during sex, court hears.” and the daily Mail blared, “Grace Millane’s killer told police ‘she inquiry him come choke her during sex since she was a pan of the 50 Shades the Grey films’, court hears.”

While the particulars that what happened in between Millane and her killer are essential in his trial, as prosecutor Brian Dickey pointed out, “you can not consent to your own murder.” so by concentrating on Millane’s alleged interest in BDSM, countless argue, media outlets are engaging in damaging victim-blaming and salacious clickbait. It’s part of a bigger pattern in i beg your pardon female crime victims room treated as though castle guilty that something, with the media and also the public digging v their previous for damaging details, or simply speculating around them based on who lock are.

Grace Millane passed away after being strangled. Defense attorneys are blaming her interest in BDSM.

Millane, a British mrs backpacking in new Zealand, was killed on December 1, 2018, according to the Guardian. The accused is a 27-year-old new Zealand man who met she on a Tinder date.

His defense lawyers have said the Millane died accidentally after questioning the male to choking her during sex, and also that the man then “panicked,” resulting in him to conceal and also bury she body.

But prosecutors say that accidental death by strangulation during sex is rare, and also that it would have actually taken “sustained effort and also strength” to kill Millane. Meanwhile, they say, the guy did no seem panicked after her death, but instead “was cool, calm, in control” as he purchase a suitcase to dispose of she body, and even set up another Tinder day while she corpse was still in his room.

Moreover, the start notes, death someone with “reckless intent” is grounds because that a murder conviction in new Zealand, also if the fatality is not intentional.

“The defendant was causing injury that was most likely to reason death,” Dickey called the jury, i beg your pardon is slated to begin deliberating top top Friday. “You death somebody by mindful risk-taking, in this country, the is murder.”

Despite all this, media coverage of the trial has actually often focused on Millane’s sexual interests. “British backpacker elegant Millane to be a ‘naive’ member of multiple BDSM dating sites — and encouraged partner to choke her during sex, according to proof introduced in ~ the trial of her accused killer in new Zealand,” the new York post reports, including that “police uncovered records that chats the 21-year-old had actually sharing her fetishes on clear bondage, domination and sadomasochism sites such as FetLife and Whiplr.”

An earlier article story is headlined, “Tinder day admits come strangling grace Millane, says she begged because that ‘50 Shades of Grey’ sex.” The Independent, meanwhile, began a recent story through the line, “British backpacker grace Millane to be ‘naive and trusting’ and gave a list of fetishes come a male through a BDSM website, she murder trial has heard.”

To some degree, it’s no surprise that defense lawyers would lug up Millane’s sexual history at the trial. Despite some legislations in the us limit the practice, the remains usual for defense attorneys to comment on victims’ pasts in sex crimes trials together a means of discrediting their accounts. In this case, the crime alleged is murder, but attorneys for the accused plainly want come argue the what taken place on December 1 was part of a pattern because that the victim, not an plot of cold-blooded killing.

Defense attorneys on regular basis employ myths around rape to gain juries on your side, politics professor Caroline Heldman composed at in 2017. These myths incorporate “the idea that civilization provoke rape through their actions, the you have the right to tell if someone has been raped by the way they plot afterward, that women frequently make false rape reports to seek revenge, and that waiting to report a rape method it no happen.”

These myths room not supported by evidence, and also when defense attorneys and also others endorse them, it deserve to discourage survivors from coming forward, Heldman writes.

Still, the reasonable because that media outlets to cover the defense’s strategy in the instance of Millane’s death. However the way they cover the matters. As Jenn Selby writes in ~ Refinery29, some publications’ headlines and also framing said that the stare of Millane’s death as “sex act unable to do wrong” to be fact, fairly than an dispute the defense was trying to make. Meanwhile, journalist ion Wells provided on Twitter that plenty of media outlets were leading v the defense’s debate without providing equal prominence to the prosecution.

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And also if their headlines contained a nod come the reality that the “sex act gone wrong” edge was just something the defense was claiming, the message might not have been clean to plain readers, Wells said. “A lot of the publicly don’t understand that ‘a court hears’ here way *from the defence* — and could conveniently read these lines together if they were objective fact. Nobody of these headlines have actually attribution,” she wrote.