• Fri, Dec 13 - 11:30 am ET

The Daily Mail Wants You To Know This Murdered Pregnant Woman Was A Sex Worker

pregnant woman

The Daily Mail is reporting on the sickening story of Deanna Ballman, a nine-months pregnant mother who was raped and killed by a doctor she met online. Except The DM is less concerned with reporting the actual story and are more interested in painting a sordid picture of the victim, running the disgusting, sexist headline “Pregnant mom Deanna Ballman who was killed by Craigslist doctor was prostitute.” Oh, she was a sex worker? This changes EVERYTHING nothing.

Ali Salim is standing trial for raping Ballman and “administering a lethal heroin injection.” Here’s what we know about the defendant:

Salim, a former doctor, used Craigslist extensively to meet sexual partners, with many references in his ads to exchanging drugs for sex, including heroin, the filing said. Salim also wrote prescriptions for hard drugs for women with whom he had sexual relationships, and bought heroin that he gave women who visited his house in an upscale neighborhood.

He has pleaded guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse. Regarding the rape, he “entered a type of guilty plea…under which he maintains his innocence but acknowledges prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.” So this is a bad guy. This guy is fucking scum. But you know what? That woman was hooker, so…you know.

It doesn’t matter at all that she worked as a prostitute. While it came out in the trial because it was relevant to how the two met, it’s patently unacceptable for The Daily Mail to run a headline like that. And of course, it’s The Daily Mail, so the fact that they managed to string words into a sentence is pretty impressive. But I’m willing to ask that we raise our standards just a little bit, so that media outlets don’t run victim-blaming headlines like this nonsense.

Last week, Nigella Lawson testified about being a victim of abuse and instead of focusing on her abuser, ex husband Charles Saatchi, the headlines screamed about her recreational drug use–as if it were at all relevant. The blood sport of finding dirt on women who are abused needs to end; there is simply no excuse to abuse, rape, injure, or murder someone, ever.

Headlines like this are almost microaggressions–they aren’t coming out and saying “she deserved it,” but the whole point is to give you a quick pause or to wonder for just a moment. It plays on the very wrong idea that sex workers cannot be raped, or that rape and murder are simply occupational hazards of their judgement-worthy professions. It’s not complicated. Anyone of any gender, age, profession, or status can be raped. This includes sex workers. And anyone can be murdered, and nobody is ever asking for it.

This is so blatantly gendered, because when men are murdered by women, more often than not we see “Upstanding citizen murdered by cold hearted ex-wife,” “Doctor decapitated by sex crazed bisexual lover,” or the upsettingly real “Harassed boyfriend jumped to his death after his girlfriend insisted on going into another clothes shop.” So let’s call this like it is. It’s not victims or murderers media outlets want to scrutinize. It’s women.

Photo: Shutterstock

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • Samantha_Escobar

    “It’s not victims or murderers media outlets want to scrutinize. It’s women.” Bingo :( Fucking awful.

  • Kay_Sue

    We (societal we) only seem to care about protecting the people we agree with, who make choices we can support. It’s sad all around.

  • Alexandra

    And I’m sure there’s the point also of saying, “don’t worry “normal women”, this can’t happen to you, this woman was a prostitute”.
    It’s a tragedy no matter what.

    • Samantha_Escobar

      Definitely. And also, “Don’t be too sad, it wasn’t that tragic, she should’ve known better like the rest of you ladies.”

  • Edify
    • Zoë Hudson-Rose

      How dare you make those kinds of judgements based on one puny article that is NOT indicative of most sex workers!

      1. The woman in question clearly did have money of her own because she had a job – as a pole dancer, so to claim she had “no assets” is unfair and clearly a bias against women and sex workers.

      2. We don’t know why she was a pole dancer. She could have learning difficulties or mental health problems that prevent her from getting a “proper” job. In this same vein, she could have been dependent on her husband for the same reason.

      3. I know it’s hard to believe, but most women don’t actually enjoy sponging of their partners. I don’t know if things are different where I come from, but there are no lazy girls or young women. You work hard at school and if you’re not clever you do something like beauty or cleaning, but you don’t sit around and sponge off their parents like young men and boys do. I think it’s because we know that if we get pregnant, we have to be self-sufficient, or maybe because we live in a very deprived area so times are hard for everyone and the only way to get out of that is to work..

      Fun facts:

      1. Quite a high proportion of sex workers (escorts, full service givers, kissograms, pole dancers, etc) are lesbians.
      2. Many women who do these kinds of jobs are mothers. They do these jobs because it allows them to decide how long they work for so they can spend more time with their children.
      3. Many sex workers are disabled and find it incredibly hard to get what people consider a “real job”.

      Always check your facts, Here are some resources if you’d like to educate yourself. http://www.bayswan.org/orgs.html

    • Edify

      Whoa…. Honey. I know that sarcasm doesn’t always translate but I was expressing my dismay at stereotypes placed on women in a couple of words with a news article that was fucking ridiculous.

      Chill out, we are on the same side.