Friday, February 12, 2010

"Police said the stiletto penetrated the eye socket and touched the victim's brain."

A reader sent me this article about a man who was attacked by Staci Hargreaves, 33, from Stalybridge, Cheshire, in a cab:

A woman has appeared in court charged with wounding after a man was stabbed through the eye with a stiletto heel.

Gavin Taylor, 28, remains seriously ill in hospital after the incident last Sunday.

He suffered the injury in the back of a taxi while travelling home from a night out in Huddersfield with his girlfriend.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "At around 2am on Sunday, police received reports of a serious assault which occurred in a vehicle travelling through Huddersfield town centre.

"A 28-year-old man was struck to the head and taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

"He was subsequently transferred to Leeds General Infirmary and is currently in a stable but critical condition...."

Police said the stiletto penetrated the eye socket and touched the victim's brain.

What struck me about the short article was the matter-of-fact tone about the attack, almost as if the incident happened with no woman present. There is a lack of emotion when reporting about violence against men, which makes it seem like "no big deal." When reporting on women who are abused or hurt by a boyfriend, it is almost always more sympathetic, emotional, and more detailed. Though this seems like a small thing, the apathetic way that the media portrays female on male violence, without emphasis on the female perpetrator as a serious threat, makes the public take incidents like this less seriously.

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Blogger Mike said...

It might have to do with the fact they reported this about the guy in

Four years ago, Taylor was jailed for 16 months for his part in the drowning death of alcoholic father-of-two Chris Mattison, who was thrown into a freezing river 'for a laugh'.

Stabbed in the eye with a stiletto? For a guy like him, cry me a river.

7:32 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger kenlowder said...

Now we know why Sarah Palin likes high heels, self defense!

7:36 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger dienw said...

Gee. Two effing whiteknighters who believe that because someone has bad karma it is alright or excusable for someone to do him bodily harm. I can only assume that you will feel no pity for the woman, now having acquired bad karma, when she serious injured? No, wait, she has internal sex organs and your dumb*ss logic doesn't apply.

8:23 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Suki said...

Dr. Helen,

I am as amazed as you, but I find myself being guilty of the same thing sometimes. Linked to this post of yours to one of the blogs I get to post on too.

Maybe now that I am aware of it I won't do it so much.

9:21 AM, February 12, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see videos of this attack. How did a woman manage to get her stiletto heal anywhere near the victim's head? Is she a gymnast?

9:35 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Perhaps she slipped her shoe off prior to the attack.

Just a thought. 8)


9:47 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger John Althouse Cohen said...

I agree that the gender bias you describe is prevalent. It should be repeatedly pointed out, and your blog does a service in doing so.

However, it seems like an open question whether this article exhibits the bias. Yes, the horrific nature of the attack is at odds with the matter-of-fact tone. But that's often the case with news reports. Journalists feel that part of their job is to report emotionally charged facts in neutral language. I'd need to know whether this reporter uses that style uniformly before assuming there's a bias.

Also, while the article may seem oddly non-judgmental in repeatedly using the passive voice ("was struck to the head"), there may be a good reason for this that doesn't have to do with gender. Newspapers have policies about how to report on legal allegations so that they don't reflexively presume that defendants are all guilty. By the way, that presumption of innocence protects criminal defendants, the vast majority of whom are men.

10:13 AM, February 12, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wounding" for stabbing a guy through the eye to the brain? What an absurdly lenient charge. It should be at least attempted manslaughter if not attempted murder.

10:21 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger By The Sword said...

Maybe the woman was... "abused"?

10:23 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger delagar said...

Agree with J.A. Cohen. Read reports of rapes, for instance, in which the victims are (often, not always) women. They are written in this same passive voice. It's the style of reporting, as though no rapist in ivolved. ("Woman raped in nightclub" -- Huh. Not "Three men raped a woman? Guess she raped herself?)

I agree this style removes the agency of the agressors, but I don't agree with you that it's because the world doesn't take violence against men seriously.

10:23 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

I am sympathetic to delagar - passive, factual reporting is a win for the case, not a loss because it doesn't match the Oprahish tone of the Rihanna articles. The solution is to make the man-on-woman violence reporting as factual and dis-interested as all other crime reporting.

10:51 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Speaking of whiteknighting, here's a guy telling men they have to kowtow to the ridiculous material demands of the commercialized Valentine's Day, because they're just not good enough the way they are and women are better than them:

"Ladies, it’s not that we don’t love you. Honest! It’s just that we’re clueless in that “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” kind of way. Men and women do not think alike and if it weren’t for florist shops and the advertising industry, I’m afraid Cupid’s day would pass us by unnoticed."

Sounds like this guy is projecting his own lack of romantic flair onto all men, or he's dated enough princesses that he thinks all women are that way.

"And men, if you’re going to give your lovely, deserving woman roses and chocolates — and your domestic bliss requires that you do"

Give me a break. If you are living in constant fear of "domestic disruption" because you didn't leave rose petals on the steps, you're with the wrong woman. Find one who loves you for who you are and enjoys reasonable, spontaneous romantic gestures - not an obligated transfer of wealth because Hallmark told her she's entitled. Wait...

"And you know what? She’s entitled, after putting up with YOU for the past year."

Whiteknighting AND pedestalizing. With his inferiority complex, I can bet this guy's woman doesn't respect him.

A friend yesterday - a starving grad student - told me that his working girlfriend (who makes more than him) expects him to splurge for flowers AND gifts AND an expensive dinner. Like it's a test of his manhood to go into serious financial hardship to show off to her on V-Day. Geez. I kept my mouth shut, but he's got to have a talk with her about the expectations. (They are only going to get more stringent.)

11:37 AM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Frankly, I want all my news reported this way. Just list those involved and what happened. Later, tell me what was found in court. I don't want agenda contaminating the news.

12:33 PM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Mike said...


You bloody retard(s), this guy participated in a very stupid, ugly prank that lead to the death of another man and you can't even find some justice in karma coming back around on him like this?

The very fact that you'd call this "whiteknighting" shows what sort of uptight, ideological, gender-blinded jackasses a lot of MRAs are.

No better than gender feminists.

12:50 PM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Mike said...

Go ahead, prosecute her. She deserves it, but the victim here is not a sympathetic one.

12:52 PM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Nick said...

Whatever his past, there is no excuse for stabbing anyone in the eye.

12:55 PM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Agreed, what makes you think that his stupid actions in a completely different matter justify his being attacked Mike?

And dude, why so hostile?


1:07 PM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger dienw said...

You bloody retard(s), this guy participated in a very stupid, ugly prank that lead to the death of another man and you can't even find some justice in karma coming back around on him like this?

Very well, let's play your idiotic game: is not the accidental death by drowning a mark of how serious the karma was for being an alcoholic father-of-two; and if the stiletto in the eye for carrying out karmic punishment of the first guy; then, should we not look forward to the karmic retribution to be carried out on the woman who just attempted murder? And remember: time in jail did not satisfy karma - past offense - so we shall not weep if someone attempts or succeeds in killing her.

2:09 PM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Jeff Y said...

Helen, good point. This sentence: A woman has appeared in court charged with wounding after a man was stabbed through the eye with a stiletto heel.

All passive tense. the accused is not named. If it were a man, it would read: Police charged Staci Hargreaves for stabbing Gavin Taylor through the eye with a stiletto heel. Taylor, a 28 year old male, remains seriously ill in hospital after the incident last Sunday.

The original is classic obscurantist grammar.

2:12 PM, February 12, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He may be unsympathetic, but is there any evidence she tried to kill him because of what he did?

3:08 PM, February 12, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

John Althouse Cohen and delegar,

I understand that news reporters are supposed to write information in a neutral way, but that is not what happens in reality.

Newsweek just ran with a post after the Alabama shooting by a female biology professor (see my post above) about how women are a rarity in gun shootings. Not offering any solutions, just trying to make excuses. Excuses and mental health reasons are given for women's violence, from supposedly "neutral media." Even female perps are seen as more sympathetic than male victims.

7:28 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Mike said...


The hostility comes from seeing many a MRA react like a gender feminist with a penis toward any injustice suffered by a man at the hands of a woman.

I have little sympathy for the guy because... get this... I grew up with an alcoholic father, and know from experience that many kids are better off with an alcoholic father than no father at all.

8:49 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger Mike said...

Considering his past, yes, I think he should be denied part of the justice that would normally be done if he'd just been a normal Joe.

8:54 AM, February 13, 2010  
Blogger pockosmum said...

'suffered the injury', like he fell on the shoe...'was attacked' would seem more like it.

12:41 AM, February 14, 2010  
Blogger fivewheels said...

That is the most awesome spam I have ever seen. The bot is so close to finding an appropriate blog to target, yet so very far.

5:20 AM, February 16, 2010  
Blogger Patriotdad said...

Rihanna attacked her boyfriend with a stilleto heel while he was driving a sports car down a highway. She gets international sympathy and an interview by Barbara Walters, he gets a criminal record because he "over reacted" to her attempt to murder him and suicide herself out.

12:07 PM, February 19, 2010  
Blogger ErikZ said...

The original article you linked to no longer exists.

1:40 AM, February 22, 2010  

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