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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.

Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

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