IN A HORRIFIC SCENE, Hannah’s ex ambushed her on the way to school, doused her children and her with gasoline and set them on fire. The children died at the scene, but Hannah was taken to the hospital where she died 12 hours later. The father killed himself at the scene after stopping a bystander from helping Hannah, saying he wanted to see her burn to death.
Hannah had left the marriage in November due to her husband’s violent behavior. It is believed she was granted a restraining order, but the father was allowed to battle her for custody of their three young children.
And therein lies the problem. A father who is violent to the mother or the children should automatically lose his right to custody. Instead, family courts are minimizing violence by fathers and granting them custody, deliberately endangering children.
OUTRAGE at MSM
MUCH of the mainstream media is portraying the father sympathetically saying he was a “good bloke” “a fun-loving ex-NRL star,” and a “dedicated dad” who was upset because he was in a custody battle for his kids. This shows the patriarchal influence over mainstream media.
But fortunately there's an outcry about this compassionate portrayal of a woman/children murderer on social and alternative media:
“#HannahClarke and her kids were murdered by a violent man. Australia’s patriarchal mainstream media spins it as him being a top bloke who was good at sportsball. When are they going to tell the truth about domestic violence?” @DamienWise tweeting outrage at MSM
“You would think that by 2020 people might understand that if a custody battle could lead a man to kill his own children, then there is a reason his ex was trying to keep him the f**k away from them…”
Claire Boland tweet
“#HannahClarke and her kids were murdered by a violent man. Australia’s patriarchal mainstream media spins it as him being a top bloke who was good at sportsball. When are they going to tell the truth about domestic violence?” @DamienWise tweet
'Goodnight my babies’, read a news.com.au headline, as though Rowan was simply tucking his kids in bed instead of brutally setting them on fire.
By leading with a quote from the murderer, this headline centres Rowan as a loving father.
By constantly mentioning the killer’s hobbies and former job – and failing to name Hannah and her children – these stories attempt to soften Rowan’s actions.
By focusing on the custody case and describing Rowan as a dedicated father who was driven crazy after being separated from his kids, these pieces justify his despicable actions and place a degree of blame on Hannah for leaving her clearly dangerous husband and trying to keep her children safe.”
FROM: Stop Calling Murderers “Good Blokes”
“…[T]he media reporting to date fuels the narrative that we know is so damaging. It focuses on the man who fell from grace, as though this act was in isolation.
Time and time again, history has taught us that entitled men kill the women in their life and her children to exert power, control and dominance.
And yet, we hear so little about Hannah and her children. Instead, the narrative implores us to empathise with a “troubled” man or to demonise the killer as some kind of “monster”. This is an exercise in othering.
Overnight, I’ve been contacted by friends of Hannah and they describe her in the most beautiful of ways: A woman with grit, resilience, determination and a wonderful mother and caring partner.
And in spite of all of her life’s achievements, the Australian media has, almost collectively, wanted for us to feel for the person responsible for the deaths of a woman and her children. No thank you. Not today, not ever.
Hannah, I am sorry we failed you. I hope that if there is a life after this world, you’re reunited with Aaliyah, Laianah and Trey where he can’t hurt you anymore ❤️
Post by Tarang Chawla
TWC NOTE: It is a good thing that people are recognizing media bias towards fathers and voicing outrage at the sympathetic portrayal of a killer father, but we also need public outrage at Family Courts for routinely endangering women and children after divorce.
WHY is this happening?
To understand why there is an epidemic of Family Court judges giving custody to abusive fathers, watch this powerpoint video:
The Custody Crisis: Why Women Are Losing Custody & Unable to Protect Their Children
WANT TO HELP?
Want to help end the crisis? Join your local coalition to help raise awareness and fight for a new system where women have the power to keep and protect their children after divorce: WomensCoalitionIntl@gmail.com
*If you appreciate the work of the Women's Coalition, please consider contributing in one of these ways:
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[Pictured: Hannah, Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey]
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Cindy Dumas, M.A. has been researching, writing, and raising awareness about the Custody Crisis since 2003, when she was unable to protect her children from their abusive father. She fled into hiding when Family Court failed her and was tricked into returning home, when her children were given to their abusive father.