Dear David Dinsmore,
We applaud you for your current campaign highlighting the issues of slavery and violence against women.
However, there were some issues with how you reported a recent story, that we would very much like you to explain.
1) You wrote a front-page story, ‘I was sex slave in Fred West’s old house’ about a 24-year-old woman called Nikola who, when aged 18, was lured to Britain by the promise of a better life. But she had been tricked by a gang, four members of which were later jailed for trafficking for sexual exploitation. And yet, in the middle of this story, you chose to show a picture of a topless 21-year-old woman.
Why did you think that was a sensible placement for this image? We understand that it was on Page 3, but you have a history of moving the Page 3 image for a variety of editorial reasons and even of omitting it entirely from the paper, why was the story of trafficking and rape against a young woman not one of those times?
2) The two huge headlines ‘I was sex slave in Fred West’s old house’ and ‘Slave gang forced me to have sex with 5 men at a time’ use the personal pronoun and therefore appear to have been said by the survivor, however these are not quotes from the article. Did you fabricate these headlines? And if so do you think it sensible to ascribe words to a survivor of such a devastating crime?
3) You used the word ‘sex’ in both the headlines, ‘I was sex slave in Fred West’s Old House’ and ‘Slave gang forced me to have sex with 5 men at a time’ – The term ‘sex’ inadequately represents the violent situation that the women in the article experienced. And as you are a family newspaper and this front page was displayed in petrol stations, supermarkets, shops etc across the country, is this not a misrepresentative and dangerous misuse of the word ‘sex’?
Please could you explain your reasoning behind this.
This request is not fueled by a zealous dislike of The Sun as you recently commented. As you know, the majority of the No More Page 3 team grew up with The Sun in their households: we acknowledge The Sun’s place in British society, but would simply like to see you represent women, and report stories of violence against them, with respect.
We would very much appreciate a response.
No More Page 3