Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

OPINION

No, a woman being killed by her husband with a hammer is not an opportunity for a joke

Apparently not everyone agrees

Added on

By Marisa Bate on

A 52-year-old man has been found guilty of bludgeoning his wife to death with a lump hammer when she refused to make him dinner. 

Jamal Khan told Preston Crown Court that when he asked his wife, Humera, who was sitting her at her sewing machine, if she had prepared him food, she replied, “Do it yourself monkey.” Khan said he found that “gravely insulting”, so much so, he took a hammer to her head and killed her causing “catastrophic” head injuries. 

I was reading this news story via the BBC twitter account last night. Some people might quickly scroll past such a headline, but I have a heartbreaking habit of lingering on precisely such headlines, and probably far too long. 

And when I began to look under the BBC’s tweet to see the comments below, I came across Jordan. 

There he was, grinning face, pint in hand, just a normal lad, probably in his early 30s, with bugger-all followers and clearly a first-class sense of humour, which I quickly derived, like a sleuthing Poirot, when I spotted his tweet: “She should have known her place… in the kitchen!” 

 

How on earth you could persuade a man like Jordan that it isn’t a joke, it’s not about free speech, that his joke can be directly linked to a culture of violence against women. What would actually have to happen?

 

What a guy. Beer in one hand, misogynistic one-liners being shot out like pistols with the other. Jordan, the proud defender of free speech, as he kept tweeting, having a laugh with all those PC snowflakes on Twitter who can’t take a joke. There he was, putting his banter amongst the feminists, just for laugh, just for a reaction, just to maybe get a few more followers (God knows he needs them). And so I thought I’d take a closer look at Jordan. Who is this hilarious man? And as I scrolled through the rest of his Twitter feed, I learnt rather quickly that Jordan loves Brexit and Jordan hates trans people, experts and politicians. Because Jordan is just a normal guy having a laugh, being a lad, getting shits and giggles out of dead women who had a hammer taken to their heads by their husbands. Everyone loves a guy like Jordan. 

And Clever Jordan spoke fluent “snowflake”: “You’re trigged, calm down princess,” he said to a woman who objected to the “joke”. “My context wasn't serious though, it was a joke. I'm not not going to say something just in case someone gets offended.” Clever Jordan knows all about these overly sensitive, overly offended liberals. Clever Jordan knows all about these types on Twitter: the types that have no sense of humour; the types that make a link between a culture that can joke about bludgeoning a woman to death and women being bludgeoned to death; the types that think how far we have to go when Everyman Jordan, Lad in the Pub Jordan, I’m Just a Normal Guy Entitled to my Opinions Jordan thinks his tweet was a “joke”. 

What world had Jordan grown up in that made him think that this BBC news story was an opportunity to fire off a sexist “joke” about women being in the kitchen? Who had Jordan heard talk in this way that makes him think that’s something to joke about? When did a man who sort of just looks like anyone – maybe your little brother’s mate from Thursday-night football – start hating women *so* much that he could perceive it as funny? Was it his dad? Was it his mates in the playground? Was it top-banter jokes from men who think like Piers Morgan – the What About Us brigade? Is this the world that some men are born into? 

And I began to wonder how on earth you could persuade a man like Jordan that it isn’t a joke, it’s not about free speech, that his joke can be directly linked to a culture of violence against women. What would actually have to happen? You can always apply the tried-and-tested what-if-it-was-your-mother-niece-sister method: the effort to explain feminism by pointing out to a man their relative is having a shit time. But even that just seems to reinforce some weird patriarchal notion of man as protector, as supposed to: “Look, Jordan, women are being routinely killed because men don’t see them as equals and your casual humour only serves to prove how ingrained this idea is.” People tried to argue with Jordan on Twitter but he kept shooing out those hilarious one-liners. In all honestly, I think it’s too late for Jordan. I imagine he will simply carry on thinking that a dead woman is the perfect hook for a joke. 

Then I thought about following Jordan, just for the banter, to burst my snowflake bubble, to give him that much need extra follow, but I realised that it’s not really about Jordan. The thing is, there are a million Jordans. And while there are millions of Jordans, we won’t get any closer to stopping women like Humera Khan being killed in their own homes with lump hammers. 

Jamal Khan has been sentenced to a minimum of 16 years. Humera Khan leaves behind two daughters and a son. 

@marisajbate

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Photo: Getty Images
Tagged in:
violence against women and girls

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