Responsibility in Reporting
I have been felled by a nasty cold this week, so I’ve been horizontal and cranky for days. I’m barely back in the office, and suffice to say I’m not fully in writing mode. Nevertheless, the news marches on.
Coworker Marcie and I were reflecting this morning on how it’s challenging that in our field, generally the news we hear is bad. We work in supporting women with HIV and educating the public about sexual health and issues that put people in vulnerable situations. Violence against women naturally falls into those categories.
Forefront in the media in the last little while is the backlash that’s resulting from the Rolling Stone story about the University of Virginia rape. Lindy West writes in The Guardian, “The past few days have been remarkably demoralizing for anti-rape activists, and that’s really saying something in a field pretty much defined by exhaustion and nausea.”
“Rolling Stone’s article… will almost certainly have a chilling effect on the reporting of sexual violence, particularly on college campuses,” says Chloe Angyal of Feministing. The Current’s Anna Maria Tremonti broadcast a piece “asking about responsibility and transparency in the coverage of sexual assault.”
The fallout is ongoing, and could add to the challenges women face when reporting sexual assault. The media can have tremendous influence on improving circumstances of reporting. All of us must push for the best possible ones.