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New study says men's violence against women is portrayed unethically in the media

The media monitoring revealed a troubling issue: victim-blaming articles and inappropriate writing on men's domestic violence against women is still a reality.

The findings of the media monitoring done by the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson showed that almost 40% of all publications on men's domestic violence against women were qualified as inappropriate. The inappropriate writing was most commonly found in the texts (37%) than in the headlines (16%).

466 publications were analyzed during the year of 2018. The monitoring was done by looking at all articles about men's domestic violence against women published on various national and regional web media portals. The collected data was analyzed according to the guidelines of ethical writing about violence against women that were prepared specifically for journalists by the experts of gender equality, sociology and communication. The guidelines would define “DO’s and DON’Ts” of writing about men’s violence against women.

 

When an inappropriate publication was found, it would be printed out and sent to the author with a letter proving further commentary on the cases of miswriting and the guidelines attached. As a result, 100 official letters were sent to the journalists with the “mistakes” analyzed.

The most commonly found cases of miswriting were assuming that the only cause of violence was the abuse alcohol or drugs (i.e. making gender irrelevant and distracting from the fact that the cause of such violence is the power imbalance and inequality within a couple) and describing violence as an ordinary incident (i.e. giving impression that it’s only a conflict, disagreement or a family drama – not a crime).

 

There were only two cases when unethical writing elements were found in the headlines more frequently than in the texts. When it comes to making fun of violence against women and describing men as monsters – the tendency of the so-called “click baiting” is apparent. The journalists try to make the headline provocative, sensational and “catchy” to attract more readers, even though the topic requires sensitive approach.

 

Some examples of inappropriate writing are provided bellow:

 

 

 

 The Office came up with an idea to track victim-blaming attitudes in the media when implementing the project “Stop Violence Against Women: From (A)wareness to (Z)ero Victims Blaming” funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union and the Lithuanian government.The content of it is the sole responsibility of the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Commission.

Agneta Skardžiuvienė

Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania

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