Jodi v Oscar

March 2, 2013

Yesterday, on my final weekday looking after my hubby and having just returned from the hospital (he has a new cast on his leg), we both settled down to eat lunch and put on the telly.
The View was just starting.

Today I observed something which has nothing to do with the show per se (I actually really enjoy the show, the topics and the differing perspectives of the women at the helm) – it is a look at our entrenched human behaviour – leaning toward gender bias.
Well, that’s how I saw it.

In this particular segment of the show, they were discussing all things criminal and the panel had a legal analyst, Dan Abrams, and a defence lawyer, Mark Eiglarsh, to join them and make their comments about current cases.
Before they started, I thought, “This could be trial by media.”

They discussed two big cases.

Firstly: A very big case going on in America at the moment where a woman, Jodi Arias, is on trial for murdering her boyfriend, Travis Alexander in 2008.
He was shot in the face, stabbed 27 times, and had his throat slit.

Jodi Arias

Jodi Arias

The men discussed her now changed statement (having said two different accounts earlier) – which is that she did it in self defence due to years of sexual dominance.
Sounded a bit like 50 Shades of Grey.

I had never even heard of this case before yesterday, so I’m not here to pass an opinion as to whether she’s guilty or not – nor do I want to go into the case to try and work it out – I only listened to what was said during this discussion and the WAY it was said.

I couldn’t help but notice the contemptuous tones of the men, especially defence attorney Eiglarsh, when discussing her; with tiny moments of sniggering and tones of mocking. At one point they discussed her now changed testimony, that she killed in self defence of the deviant man she painted.

Is there any proof that he was a sexual deviant?

Eiglarsh: There’s proof – but there’s no credible proof. Technically the jury has to take into consideration what flows from her lips, but they don’t have to give it any weight.

Why not? Because she lied at the start? Well, it doesn’t mean she wasn’t a victim of sexual violence, of which she is apparently giving graphic detail.

I commented to my husband that it was curious – that we actually do know the devastating statistics about sexual/domestic violence and how many countless women suffer at the hands of it and yet this discussion was only portraying a very one-sided deduction (she’s lying), without a hint of recognition at the fact she may have actually been tormented for years.

At another moment when her actions were questioned, one said she changed her mind because she was put on trial for murder and Einglarsh said:

She’s hoping jurors are addicted to gullible. 

I find that a biased comment. Amongst many.

Secondly: Oscar Pistorius. A guest female attorney, Sunny Hostin has now joined the panel.

This case looks VERY much like premeditated murder. Most of his story seems farfetched and parts don’t actually make sense – yet the lawyers on the show were talking in a tone (that to me) was bordering on a ‘poor guy’ one.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s terribly sad that he has ended up here. Terribly sad.

There were discussions about the fact he hadn’t taken testosterone but a herbal concoction and the fact that it wasn’t ‘roid rage’. When asked more about including that as a defense they said they’ve tried it before in America and “it doesn’t work” and Einglarsh said: “No then you’d have to admit you did it, but it was roids…” (so no).

The clincher for me was when the law analyst says that it seems to be a pretty strong case that it wasn’t an intruder to which the guest woman lawyer says, “I don’t know..” (???) and Einglarsh shouts out the following statistic as he points down on the table:

“16, 766 burglaries alone in South Africa.”

There’s another statistic – 60,000 women and children in South Africa are victims of domestic violence every month.

The police have continually botched up his case AND he’s probably going to get a deal. Hostin also said that he will sit in front of a judge and not a jury, “which will probably…help him.” Why help him? He killed his girlfriend in cold blood or a moment of lunacy. Same as Jodi, just executed differently.

My point of all this is that both of these people committed a crime – both murdered their partner and both have shown inconsistencies with their stories – but I felt like there was an underhanded, conditioned response to these crimes and to me they were swayed by the gender of the perpetrators.

Regardless of the nature of men AND the fact that:

“Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. Based on country data available , up to 70 per cent of women experience physical or sexual violence from men in their lifetime – the majority by husbands, intimate partners or someone they know.

Among women aged between 15 and 44, acts of violence cause more death and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined.  Perhaps the most pervasive human rights violation that we know today, violence against women devastates lives, fractures communities, and stalls development. It takes many forms and occurs in many places – domestic violence in the home, sexual abuse of girls in schools, sexual harassment at work, rape by husbands or strangers, in refugee camps or as a tactic of war.”

this panel casually sat through a discussion without once entertaining the notion that Jodi (may have) endured what she says she did – knowing that statistically it was VERY possible – and that Oscar, who actually DID demonstrated such violence, may get off through technicalities.

Him? Maybe it wasn’t premeditated.
Her? There’s no way that was self defence.

The big difference I want to point out, though, is that in Jodi’s case, the male victim was discussed – again, as a possible nice guy and not the sexual deviant she was claiming.

Reeva Steenkamp was not mentioned.

Deep Breath


If you can, watch it for yourself and tell me what you think. The episode is on The View *here* which aired on the Thurs 28th Feb.

10 Responses to “Jodi v Oscar”

  1. Ms LJ said

    Great point!
    Would you consider passing on your observations to the View? I’d be interested to know their take on this. Are they aware, strong women that I believe they are, of the strong gender bias surrounding them? Or are they not as strong as we think because they are being told what to do/say on TV like good women?

    • questionsforwomen said

      I think we all, as a society, buy into this media representation’s notion that all women murderers are guilty and guys might not be.
      Like the huge amounts of rape, with little male convictions, due to the old argument that women were asking for it etc etc etc.
      I might put it on The View – but I actually think those women are fabulous and it was mainly the men speaking…just without a huge interjection from the ladies.

  2. afeministmother said

    Those statistics are so important – up to 70% of women at some time experiencing rape and violence, mostly from men known to them.. What a monumental problem!

    Like others no douubt, I have long thought that it would be helpul to know statistics that actually focus on the perpetrator too – if 70% of women are victims just how many men beat and rape? The real extent of the problem is hidden and not being named because our culture does not focus on the offender in these crimes. (Only recently have some of the victims had some acknowledement!) There are repeat and serial perpetrators, but I would like to know just how many individal men are violent against women. The stastistics are difficult to collect I know, but I think the numbers would be much higher than what we have been led to think. I imagine that they are shocking – just like the 70% statistic is.

    The discussion amongst the people of the panel clearly shows how our culture works to deflect away from the perpetrator, and demonise women and maintain the status quo – and they work in law! and have the malestream media machine at their disposal. Aren’t we screwed!

    This is a great commentary of the programme and points out that which everyone should see is going on – the amazing bias, and minimalisastion of male actions and the exaggeration of womens’.

    • questionsforwomen said

      This is one, MASSIVE rabbit hole that we must jump into.
      It’s going to be messy, but there must be a better way to relate to each other than this.
      Religion makes us continue breeding – even though we’re running out of room and resources.
      And the closer together we get, the more we demonise, marginalise and destroy each other – all the while the planet that sustains us, is starting to crumble.
      The way people relate to politics is an embarrassment – WORLDWIDE.
      We’re in the shit we’re in because of us.
      Things need to change – drastically. Now!

      Why is it only a few of us who can see that?

      Why is this battle for being seen as an equal – so hard?
      Isn’t it unethical to object to these calls? Calls that have been shouted for decades?
      I think we need to rise up again. Demonstrations of women.
      I reckon our PM might listen – more likely to than a male…
      Worth a shot.
      Imagine it…

  3. godtisx said

    I completely agree and picked up the “tone,” and sometimes assertions by the media as this played out. It seemed even before we really got into the testimonies, that she was held as guilty. Now with Oscar, after the same, he is held as “innocent,” OF COURSE.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Well, they both murdered someone – but the discussion was certainly a biased one.
      Thanks for your comment. x

  4. lala1966 said

    I suggest you look at the crime scene photos and look at the Jodi Arias case as a whole before you assume that she was abused. I think it is an insult to women when some get on the bandwagon so much as to assume that if a woman says “abuse” that no matter what the other circumstances say, you have to believe her. This woman has abused that whole battered women syndrome problem by using it to her advantage. After coming up with other stories about the killing and realizing that they wouldn’t work because there was too much forensic proof, then she got the idea from her defense, to say “self-defense”. It is in no way at all fitting to use her as an example of bias for women who are really mistreated. She is laughing in the face of this terrible reality.

    • questionsforwomen said

      I said from the start, my reason for writing this wasn’t to debate the legalities of whether she was or wasn’t abused, I was commenting on the fact that it was completely ruled out in this discussion with contemptuous undertones to boot. I understand that she lied about the murder twice before she finally admitted, that she was indeed the perpetrator.
      Does that mean that there is NO DOUBT whatsoever in anyone’s mind that she wasn’t abused? Simply because she lied about killing him from the start? Oscar is still holding onto that gem.
      Surely a balanced and UNBIASED discussion would look at all the possibilities – but this one didn’t.
      The murder sounds gruesome – surely we need to get to the bottom of what drives a person to that – both her AND Oscar.
      I believe Oscar has lied about his murder as well and yet the tone was (for want of a better word) forgiving. The female guest commentator even said, “He will face a judge and not a jury which will…help him.” Help him? Why? He murdered his girlfriend. Same cold blood or moment of lunacy. Just executed differently.
      I believe BOTH have committed heinous crimes but I couldn’t help feeling like the discussion was anti-her and pro-him.
      I don’t think she is laughing. Noone wins in these situations – they are pure tragedies.
      Thanks heaps for your comment.

  5. BRichards said

    Your observations were very interesting. However if you have followed the Arias trial at all you would realize why the commentators were upset and why it might not have sounded like they thought she was a battered woman. Arias pretends to cry on the stand, she has accused the victim of outrageous behaviors that have not been substantiated, she has repeatedly lied, she went on television prior to the trial and stated something to the effect of no jury would ever convict her. According to her own brother Arias made a sex tape with the victim so that she could blackmail him in the event he wanted to date anyone else. She had a history of having sex in parking lots with people she barely knew and had a history of stalking all of her ex-boyfriends. She send fake emails from the victim’s email account to females that she thought he had shown an interest in, she accessed his bank account online and accessed his Facebook account. She gained access to the victim’s house on many occasions once even crawling through a doggy door. She slashed the victim’s tires on two occasions and slashed a females tires who was on a date with the victim. She wanted to marry the victim and he had made it very clear that he did not want to marry her. She stole a gun from her grandfather and used it to shoot the victim after she had stabbed him 29 times and slashed his throat almost decapitating him. She made up stories about their sexual encounters and even took naked pictures of herself trying to make it look like he was the photographer. Evidence also shows that Arias preplanned the murder. There is not one bit of information substantiating her claims of being controlled or battered by the victim.

    As for Oscar – I think he is guilty also.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Wow. No, I had not been following the case (I’m from Australia – there’s been no mention of it here). Jodi sounds terrible.
      My post was an observation in the manner in which both parties were talked about. I understand why they may have spoken about Jodi in the manner in which they did, but I agree with your last line, Oscar appears just as guilty of murder and yet they sounded like they were making concessions for him.
      But cold-blooded murder is cold-blooded murder, however it’s dressed up.
      Although, having said that I also understand that he is famous and was an inspiration to many, and a lot of people may be finding it difficult to accept he committed such a heinous crime.
      Jodi really does sound very mentally unwell. Can it be said without question that the victim’s treatment of her, when they were together, may have contributed to her state of mind? How can private acts be substantiated? In things like this we will never know the whole truth. I guess her other acts will be her downfall – which sound truly imbalanced (just from what you wrote).
      Thanks so much for shedding some more light.
      I hope you understand that my post was in no way to judge legalities of the case, just the tone used to discuss it.

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