Domestic violence charities speak out after tabloid's 'reprehensible' portrayal of J.K. Rowling's abuse

jk rowling domestic abuse charities condemn sun newspaper
(Image credit: Anadolu Agency)

Domestic violence charities have expressed their condemnation of The Sun newspaper after a recent front-page featured author J.K. Rowling’s abusive ex-husband.

The tabloid featured a headline reading, ‘I slapped JK and I’m not sorry’, on an issue that included an interview with the Harry Potter writer’s ex-husband, Jorge Arantes.

Many people have taken to social media to blast the newspaper’s sensationalist stance on a difficult life experience, with the hashtag #dontbuythesun gaining traction over the past few days.

At a time of reported increased rates of #domesticabuse and terrifying uncertainty for so many women, @TheSun has chosen to amplify the voice of a perpetrator,’ wrote domestic abuse charity Refuge.

There are no excuses for abuse. We, proudly, stand on the side of survivors.’

Charity Women’s Aid added, ‘Headlines matter. This morning we have been speaking to The Sun about today's front page and the negative impact it has had, and we will continue to speak to them to reflect survivors' voices.

‘We listen to and believe survivors of domestic abuse.

Other Twitter users joined the charities in expressing their outrage at the publication’s behaviour, with one writing, ‘An absolutely rancid front page, providing a mass platform for an abuser, which will undoubtedly cause immense distress to JK Rowling and to all women who have suffered domestic abuse from men.

‘Park your views on Rowling's recent comments: everyone has to unite on this.’

Capitalising on domestic abuse @jk_rowling survived for commercial profit is not only disgusting but reprehensible,’ added another. ‘A sick undertone of misogyny in here. The Sun & its editors should be dragged with bells of Shame Shame Shame ringing in their ears!

Touching on the recent backlash that the writer has received over her controversial comments on transgender issues, one user tweeted, ‘The only reason to publish this sh** is because you know some people are having a go at JK Rowling right now, so when you make a headline like that, you're intentionally inviting some people to agree with the statement. The Sun & its editors are garbage.

Another agreed, ‘I really hope that wherever you stand on JK Rowling you can see that this headline is violence to a woman written in the words of a perpetrator.

‘It is just more misogyny and it makes me sick Solidarity to survivors everywhere’.

I spent today opposing @jk_rowling’s transphobia and I will spend tomorrow defending her from this misogyny,’ echoed another. ‘These positions are not contradictory. Everyone involved with that headline (if not the whole vile rag of a “newspaper”) needs to resign.’

It comes after the writer penned an essay on the domestic violence that she experienced, in response to criticism over recent comments she made on transgender issues.

Late on Saturday evening, scrolling through children’s pictures before I went to bed, I forgot the first rule of Twitter – never, ever expect a nuanced conversation – and reacted to what I felt was degrading language about women,’ explained the author, whose full name is Joanne Rowling.

I spoke up about the importance of sex and have been paying the price ever since. I was transphobic […] I deserved cancelling, punching and death. You are Voldemort said one person, clearly feeling this was the only language I’d understand.’

Opening up about her ‘first violent marriage,’ the author admitted, ‘scars left by violence and sexual assault don’t disappear’.

I’ve been in the public eye now for over twenty years and have never talked publicly about being a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor,’ she wrote in her moving essay.

This isn’t because I’m ashamed those things happened to me, but because they’re traumatic to revisit and remember. I also feel protective of my daughter from my first marriage. I didn’t want to claim sole ownership of a story that belongs to her, too.

Following the backlash, The Sun newspaper released the following statement, “We were disgusted by the comments of JK Rowling’s ex-husband, and branded him ‘sick’ and ‘unrepentant’ in our coverage.

“It was certainly not our intention to ‘enable’ or ‘glorify’ domestic abuse, our intention was to expose a perpetrator’s total lack of remorse. Our sympathies are always with the victims.

“The Sun has a long history of standing up for abused women and campaigning against domestic violence. Our campaigns have kept refuges open, providing a safe place for women and children to escape violence, as well as getting laws changed.

“Over the years and with the support of charities we have empowered countless victims to come forward and seek help.”

Aleesha Badkar
Digital Beauty Editor, woman&home

Aleesha is Digital Beauty Editor at woman&home, where she gets to share her expertise into all the best techniques, sharpest tools and newest products—with a particular savvy in skincare and fragrance.

Previously, she was Deputy Editor and Beauty & Fashion Editor for My Imperfect Life, where she headed up the beauty, fashion and eCommerce pages. In the past, she has worked as Shopping Writer at woman&home, gained an AOP awards nomination after working on their news team, contributed to Women's Health, Stylist and Goodto and earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London.