Understanding Women Who Try to Kill Their Abusers: Print Media Coverage of R. v. Ryan

Authors

  • Bailey Gerrits University of Winnipeg
  • Nadia Verrelli Laurentian University
  • Lori Chambers Lakehead University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.22230/cjc.2021v46n3a3825

Keywords:

Domestic violence; Men’s rights; Newspapers; Content analysis / Les violences conjugales; Des droits des hommes; Les journaux; D’analyse du contenu

Abstract

Background: The news coverage of domestic violence survivors who lethally defend themselves is often negative and promotes misconceptions. The trials of Nicole Doucet, who tried to hire a hitman to kill her abusive husband, provides an opportunity to assess if tone of the coverage changed over time.

Analysis: News coverage of the Ryan case started neutral or favourable to Doucet and included feminist legal analysis. Interjections by Michael Ryan and the RCMP shifted the coverage to use more men’s rights arguments and negatively portray Doucet.

Conclusion and implications: Canadian newspapers demonstrated, in equal measure, a better grasp of women’s defensive violence and a susceptibility to be swayed by men’s rights arguments.

Contexte : La couverture médiatique des survivantes de la violence domestique qui se défendent mortellement est souvent négative et fait avancer des idees fausses. Les procès de Nicole Doucet, qui a tenté d’embaucher un tueur à gages pour tuer son mari violent, offre l’occasion d’évaluer si le ton de la couverture changé au fil du temps.

Analyse : La couverture des journaux a débuté neutre ou positive et comprenait des analyses juridiques féministes. Les interjections de Michael Ryan et de la GRC ont modifié la couverture pour incluier plus d’arguments en faveur relatifs aux des droits des hommes et pour dépeindre Doucet de manière négative.

Conclusion et implications : Les journaux canadiens ont démontré une meilleure compréhension
de la violence défensive des femmes et leur susceptibilité à être influencés par les arguments des droits des hommes

Author Biographies

Bailey Gerrits, University of Winnipeg

Bailey Gerrits, PhD is the Mila Mulroney Research Chair in Women, Policy and Governance Leadership at St. Francis Xavier University.

Nadia Verrelli, Laurentian University

Nadia Verrelli, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Laurentian University, has published on Canadian institutions and separatism. Currently she is working on domestic violence and the Secession Reference.

Lori Chambers, Lakehead University

Dr. Lori Chambers is a professor of women’s studies at lakehead university where she teaches feminist theory, and courses on women and the law. Her current research focuses on violence against women. 

Published

2021-09-09

Issue

Section

Articles