Violence against women: Tell the right story
- Campaign dated October 2014 -
*TW: discussion of domestic violence
News reporting of domestic violence plays a critical role in setting the tone for community attitudes. The way journalists and editors choose to write about family violence is vitally important, because the words they use and the stories they focus on shape how the public think and feel about this issue. When stories of family violence focus on the victim, they tell us that they're what's important in the story.
Together, Fair Agenda and GetUp members are calling on Fairfax and News Ltd to tell the right story about violence against women, by asking them to adopt responsible reporting guidelines that have been created by the family violence sector. Will you join us?
*For 24 hour help, call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732). Or see your state and territory helplines here.
Last year, when the tragic news broke that a young woman, Mayang Prasetyo, was killed by her partner in a gruesome violent attack, how did The Courier Mail choose to report the story? With offensive language, a sexualised picture and a focus on the young woman's gender and occupation.
It was the second story in a matter of weeks that has focused the victim in an incident of domestic violence. The Sydney Morning Herald had reported the horrific murders of Kim Hunt and her three children in the community of Lockhart, writing:
"Police believe unbearable strain and hardship brewed within quiet grain farmer Geoff Hunt, following a car crash that left his wife Kim disabled."
Language like this, though subtle, is incredibly damaging to society's attitudes towards men's violence against women.
Violence prevention experts highlighted the role of community attitudes in perpetuating violence against women -- and told us our attitudes need to change. Family violence experts have designed responsible reporting guidelines to help media do just that. It's time they were adopted by all news outlets.