Saturday, 11 June 2011

Shape of a Life

There's so much wrong with the article 'Marice McGregor's tragic path to death' I'm not sure where to start - the references to the number of limbs Dean Mulligan (the man convicted of murder) has or the implicit victim blaming. But one thing which is explicit here - but present in many other articles I've read - is the idea of someone's life leading to the point where they were murdered.

Perhaps it's a defense mechanism we employ, to believe that some people are pre-destined to be killed, because we can look at our own lives, see no obvious signs and be reassured. Perhaps we're used to thinking of lives as following a natural pattern or journey, and we want to see them all following a natural pattern, as if the road some follow was always shorter and they were not thrown off it halfway through. I don't know.

I understand that there would be no article if on Marice McGregor had she not been murdered - and that to some extent the focus is always going to be on that. But to structure it like this carries with it implicit victim blaming (if these aspects of her life indirectly led to her death, what would've happened had she made different decisions?) and upholds all kinds of myths. That's not to say that some women aren't more at risk, but murder and violence can affect anyone.

But to me almost the most troubling thing is how every aspect of her life becomes tainted - from her childhood illness to her relationship with her siblings to the places she lived. These are all now stepping stones on the path to her murder. I'm glad that her life is being recognised, but I wish it could be seen as just that - a life, a collection of experiences, positive and negative that were horribly cut short, not a tragic and inevitable path.


katy said...

Thanks for the post, I found the article very troubling too. Good analysis.

Julie said...