Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Maria Duque-Tunjano had a name

Her name was Maria Duque-Tunjano. She was brutally murdered in her own home. The police are looking for Robert Richard Fraser, also known as Robert Aleem, for the murder of Maria and an assault on another woman on January 18th.

Maria Duque-Tunjano is another victim of fatal male violence. Maria died because Robert Aleem chose to kill her.

These are the important facts.

Yet, you would not know this from coverage in the Evening Standard. They were far more interested in the fact that Maria supported herself through prostitution and that she was murdered in an expensive mansion. In an article about the brutal murder of Maria, the Evening Standard felt obligated to include this:

Earls Court Square properties reach in excess of £8 million and the location was once home to the likes of Bond actress Rosamund Pike and Depeche Mode singer David Gahan.

As if Maria's death is only newsworthy because she happened to be murdered in an area of London where a couple of celebrities used to live.

The dehumanisation of Maria by the Evening Standard is an utter disgrace. Maria was brutally murdered and her death should make the news but it should be considered news because Maria was a human. Where she was murdered and her job are only relevant if you believe that prostitutes aren't human too. And, the first clue to believing that a victim is human is to use their name in the title of the article: not prostitute but her name Maria  Duque-Tunjano.

The murder of Maria Duque-Tunjano needs to be contextualised within a culture of fatal male violence against women. The only way to do this is name Maria. Anything else is offensive.


UPDATE FROM AUTHOR: The comment about Maria being killed in her own "home" is a reference to her landlord's statements as he believed it was her "home" and that women "like that" shouldn't be renting property in expensive areas. His statements are part of the pattern of insisting that Maria's death only matters because of where she was killed and not because she was a human.

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