By Christine Murray, See the Triumph Co-Founder
If you’re like me, sometimes you’ve read or seen a story about domestic violence in the media, and it’s made you cringe because of how the story was reported or the misinformation it included. Or maybe you’ve also experienced stronger reactions, such as outrage and anger. Chances are, if you’re informed about the dynamics of domestic violence and you care about the issue, you’ve noticed examples of irresponsible--and possibly even unsafe--media reporting about the issue. Examples of practices that I consider to be irresponsible reporting include providing incorrect information about the dynamics of abusive relationships, framing stories in ways that blame victims, and providing details in stories that could pose safety risks for victims.
You can take action to prevent problematic reporting, correct misinformation that is conveyed, and work proactively to promote safe, responsible media reporting about domestic violence. These steps include the following:
Therefore, whenever possible, I suggest that advocates for raising awareness about domestic violence in local communities work proactively, over time to build relationships with reporters and others (e.g., administrators and news directors). With strong relationships with members of the media in your communities, you can work together to learn about the nature of each other’s work, as well as to develop strategies to have domestic violence be covered in safe, responsible ways in your community.