Representations of Violence, Representations as Violence: When the News Reports on Homicides of Disabled People
Ableist necropolitics can be seen no more starkly than in news portrayals of the murders of disabled people by family or caregivers. When such murders are reported in the news, disabled people as full subjects fade away, portrayed as objects of care and suffering; their murders are routinely presented as an understandable if tragic response by ‘overwhelmed’ carers. This article examines Australian news reporting on four cases of family murder–suicide involving disabled victims to explore news framings of violence as violence. We situate these representations within a spectrum of connected and overlapping ableist violence and conceptualise the harms they can produce and sanction. We argue that news portrayals of homicides involving disabled victims not only are frequently ableist and legitimising but also constitute a form of ableist epistemic violence that scaffolds ontological, structural and direct violence against disabled people.
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