Columnist Figures Out the Worst Possible Way to Introduce an Article About Sexual Assault


All you aspiring reporters out there looking for your first big scoops, take careful note: your lede is very important. How important? By this point, three-quarters of the people who were reading this post just tuned out and pulled up Buzzfeed so they could scroll through “The 46 Things Your Cat Doesn’t Want You to Know It’s Thinking When It’s Watching Maury.” How are you possibly going to compete with the whizbang allure of new media? With compelling ledes, that’s how. You have to grab the people by the shoulders, shake them violently, and scream, “LISTEN TO ME!” while making sure not to spit in their mouths because it’s flu season and I hear that shit is vile this year.

With that in mind, consider how you might introduce your readers to a story about a woman testifying at the criminal trial of an anesthesiologist who has been charged with sexually assaulting 21 women (including her) while they were unconscious. How might you perform that delicate feat, hmm? Well, for starters, you wouldn’t want to write something like this:

She lost a womb but gained a penis.
The former was being removed surgically – full hysterectomy – while the latter was forcibly shoved into her slack mouth.

This is the horrible way that Toronto Star columnist Rosie DiManno chose to begin recounting the testimony of someone who may very well be a survivor of sexual assault. The case centers around anesthesiologist Dr. George Doodnaught, who allegedly assaulted 20 women while they were unconscious in a North York General hospital operating room, as well as another woman at an outside clinic. The rest of DiManno’s article proceeds with proper restraint, but those first two lines are pretty revolting, and, not surprisingly, a perfect example of how to alienate pretty much anyone who has decided to read your article.

DiManno: Resilient witnesses give graphic details of doctor’s alleged sex assaults [Toronto Star]

Image via Sychugina/Shutterstock.

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