Handle With Care Media Guide
News reports are where most people get their knowledge about specific incidents of violence against women as well as general stories about its nature and prevalence. Good reporting can play a vital role in increasing understanding of violence against women and challenging its place in our society.
On the other hand, irresponsible reporting can reinforce myths about the ‘causes’ of violence, such as
- Myth: Women who wear revealing clothing, drink, socialise late at night, or flirt, are more likely to be raped.
- Myth: Women who do all or any of the above are to blame if they are raped.
- Myth: Only certain types (ages, colours, religions, sexualities, or classes, or women who look a certain way) of women suffer violence and abuse
- Myth: Women are more likely to be raped by strangers than friends, acquaintances or partners.
- Myth: Domestic abuse is not serious
- Myth: Rapists and abusers are abnormal ‘monsters’.
These myths confuse the issue, blowing some dangers out of proportion and reducing awareness of others, encouraging blaming of the victim and therefore deflecting attention from the perpetrator, and discouraging women from reporting violence against them.
Zero Tolerance has produced an informative guide to responsible media reporting of violence against women, which offers advice on various issues from interviewing survivors to providing relevant context and ensuring that violence is neither trivialised nor sensationalised.