I'm feeling my Olympic groove this evening, when here comes a commercial break blurb for the local newscast. They're promising me all sorts of wonderfully lurid stuff if I tune in later. Here's one exciting pitch:
This man's wife and baby were held up at gun point!...Details later...
There is a very, very quick shot of a man, and then we see the woman with her baby telling us "He had a gun and he told me 'don't make me do this, you have a baby with you'."
Here's my question: Why "this man's wife and baby" and not "this woman and her baby"? In reporting crime against women, must we do it so as to make clear who owns them, in favor of that the crime was against them? When we say "this man's wife and baby were held up at gunpoint" we are implying that the crime, although committed on the woman and baby, was against the man.
There's no excuse for locution like this. News writers/readers, women are their own agents. You don't need to identify their closest male in order to report news on them.