Friday, March 2, 2012

Not An Isolated Incident

You've seen us write before that the purpose of this blog is to connect the local work we do to larger issues that contribute to a culture that tolerates and encourages violence against women. Part of that culture is a deliberate insistence that incidents of violence against women are isolated incidents. This opinion piece in the Washington Post shows how the media contributes to that view:

A Washington state study of 230 news articles about 44 deaths related to domestic violence found that nearly all the stories portrayed these incidents as isolated events, rather than as part of a larger social problem.

A similar Rhode Island study of the media coverage of domestic violence homicides found that journalists often portrayed the murder as an “unpredictable private tragedy” rather than part of a larger pattern of abuse. Both studies found that media coverage generally failed to provide accurate information about the dynamics of domestic violence or utilize experts as sources for stories. When experts were quoted, however, the media coverage was much more likely to describe the murder as a part of the societal problem of domestic violence and to discuss community resources for responding to violence.
If we can't see domestic violence homicides as connected, and we can't see the larger societal attitudes and issues that contribute to violence against women, how can we devise a solution? That is why it is vital to share what you've learned about domestic violence with those around you. You can help them connect the dots and only then will we be able to come up with solutions that are truly preventative.

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