Grace Millane was murdered last December. Her killer claimed it was an accident, the result of BDSM gone wrong. Many media organisations have used the personal details of her sex life to sell papers and garner clicks. This invasion of privacy makes me sick to my stomach. Ms Millane’s disappearance sparked international attention, and now the trial of her death has received huge amounts of interest and coverage.
After being killed, Ms Millane’s body was stuffed into a suitcase and buried in a nearby wildlife range. Her murderer went on another date while her body lay in his car. That is one of the most degrading things I have ever heard. These are not the actions of someone with the tiniest shreds of morals or humanity.
Ms Millane was strangled. Her murderer took pictures of her and watched pornography while she laid dead beside him. He even fell asleep in the same bed. Ms Millane was a member of BDSM sites so the suggestion her death was unintentional is somewhat believable … until you hear about her body being kept in a suitcase and taken along to his next date. He even googled the location where he buried her body before their date.
I feel sorry for Ms Millane’s parents having to sit and listen to the injuries their daughter had suffered from, and then they had to sit through the court discussing their daughter’s sex life. The graphic details were then examined in the media to excessive levels.
Ms Millane’s sex life shouldn’t have been discussed to the extent is has been. The claim she slept with another man the night before she met her murderer is irrelevant. No, it’s beyond irrelevant. Sexual history shouldn’t be used to discuss what kind of person she was and the personality she had. It was distasteful to use Ms Millane’s sexual past in her murder trial.
Victim blaming in high profile cases such as this holds a risk for those who report sexual harassment, assault or rape. In the future, many may be afraid or reluctant to come forward. Statistics for unreported sexual violence to police are already high, with 83% of victims not reporting incidents to the police. We shouldn’t see cases like this as a deterrent to report sexual violence. Instead of seeing this trial as a reason not to come forward and share your experiences, see it as a time when someone treated another appallingly and the courts have held them accountable.