The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Don’t Worry, It’s Not Our Britt, Just Some Other Chick

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 10, 2008

Was discussing the Britt Lapthorne case with the wondrous Audrey this morning, specifically the latest developments: police in Dubrovnik have found a female body floating in the sea near the town, but they are denying it is Lapthorne, who has been missing since mid-September:

Her father, Dale Lapthorne, said a detective from the capital Zagreb, known only as Antonio and who has been liaising with the family and local police on the case, refuted the newspaper report.

“He said they’re wrong, the details are wrong,” Mr Lapthorne said. “He’s advised it’s not correct.”

While my heart goes out to the Lapthorne family during what must be a terrible ordeal, what is most unsettling about the coverage is the sense that so long as this woman’s body isn’t Britt’s, it’s somehow “okay”.

But what happened to her? Was she beaten, raped, murdered? Did she drown whilst on her morning swim? Did she slip and fall from a bridge? Did someone throw her body into the sea like garbage? Does she have children? A partner? Are people looking for her, too?

Too often media coverage in cases like this is skewed towards women who are white and ‘respectable’; as soon as the victim (or, more often than not, victims) no longer fit that bill – be they black, indigenous (witness Canada’s ‘Highway Of Tears‘, upon which 17 of the 18 women murdered were Native American), immigrant or from a lower socio-economic background, sex worker, single mother or any other minority – it seems people just don’t care as much.

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4 Responses to “Don’t Worry, It’s Not Our Britt, Just Some Other Chick”

  1. scal said

    There has been some speculation; Croatian newspapers are reporting that the unidentified body has had its teeth knocked out and its arms cut off, which is – apparently – consistent with a mafia killing.

    I agree that the media gets worked up in a frenzy over the death of white people (particularly pretty girls) but I think in this instance the lack of interest in who the “other” woman is, may be more to do with complacency about mafia killings.

  2. But Scal, what about the reportage from the Australian media and the response from the public? Very disinterested in the other woman – I don’t think that’s necessarily due to ethnicity in this case, but it is indicative of a worrying disregard for the ‘other’ in any situation.

  3. scal said

    I certainly take your point, Audrey.

    In this instance I think a lot of the info we’re getting is via her family, so I suppose their interests would be skewing it somewhat.

    I’ve been noticing more “travelling is DANGEROUS” articles recently – jeez the media are quick to jump on themes.

  4. Sadly it was her.

    Maybe the Australian media may be rather interested in the body now 😦

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