Monday, October 5, 2009

Stop Making DV Jokes!

We could do much to change the way our public views domestic violence by providing training to those at newspapers and news websites who write headlines for articles. The lesson: stop minimizing violence against women and trying to turn it into a joke!

Headline: Man poisoned wife in "ill thought-out" act of love

Actual Article: A man who tried to poison his estranged wife so he could rekindle her love by nursing her back to health gets no jail time.

Headline: Man accused of plotting mayhem to win woman's love
Actual Article: Man tries to hire his roommate to kidnap a woman, slash her face repeatedly with a utility knife and torch her Toyota.

Headline: Boyfriend of the year material
Actual Article: A woman reports a former boyfriend's stalking behavior, including threats to post videos of their intimate moments on Youtube and Myspace, tried to interference with a job opportunity, and comments that, in the past, he "has killed someone."

Headline: Husband goes nuts over nuts
Actual Article: A man beats his wife in front of their children.


Anonymous said...

News editors are always looking for a title for stories to capture the reader's attention and encourage them to read the article. As such, I don't believe they're trying to make jokes but rather being witty. Blasé readers who would otherwise skip a DV article may be intrigued enough by the title to read what the article is actually about. Unless the accompanying article also downplays the DV aspect and makes light of it, I think we should let the editors do what they can to get readers interested.

Women's Resource Center said...

There are lots of ways to get readers' attentions without trivializing severe violence and murder. Language and images have always been important in social change movements. That's why you'll never see Women's Resource Center publishing materials with pictures of crying women with black eyes. We don't want to totalize women as victims, but rather celebrate them for the strength it took to get themselves to safety. Shocking, violent photos would certainly get more attention, but that doesn't mean it is responsible to use them.