Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

Tabloid leering at violent crime is leading to a race to bottom

BLOGGER Kirsty Strickland, who has been awarded a bursary by the Write to End Violence Against Women 2015 campaign, writes her second article for The National today analysing how women are portrayed in the media.

The 25-year-old campaigning mum, from Cambuslang, Lanarkshire, won the chance to have her articles published the The National, media partner for the awards for excellence is journalism, which is organised by Zero Tolerance with the support of NUJ Scotland, White Ribbon Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, Engender, Everyday Victim Blaming, Women 50:50, Rape Crisis Scotland, Women for Independence and former MSP Carolyn Leckie.

REEVA Steenkamp was shot and killed by her partner Oscar Pistorius on February 14, 2014. It was Valentine’s Day, and also the day women danced in the streets for the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women. The day after she was killed, The Sun newspaper ran a now infamous front page. Reeva’s swimsuit clad image, staring out to the reader, juxtaposed with the headline: 3 shots. Screams. Silence. 3 more shots.

Reaction to the cover was as swift as it was furious. Columnist Suzanne Moore said it was “lechery over a corpse” while former deputy prime minister John Prescott called for a boycott of the paper. People were concerned about what some called the “rebranding of domestic violence as entertainment”.

This retelling of violence as click-bait or tabloid-fodder isn’t only a feature of high-profile cases like Reeva’s, however.

You may have read about Maria Nemeth last week. She was found dead in her apartment in Florida. Her boyfriend Fidel Lopez, 24, phoned the emergency services, stating his girlfriend was having trouble breathing. When they arrived they found Maria, 31, on the bathroom floor mutilated. Her injuries were extensive and savage. She had been assaulted with various objects and pronounced dead at the scene. Afterwards, Lopez admitted he had ‘flew into a rage’ and ‘became a monster’. He told how he assaulted Nemeth while she was unconscious before disembowelling her. He claimed the catalyst for his violence was Maria said her ex’s name while she and Lopez were having sex. ...

Read more at The National.


Inspired by our participation with the Write to End Violence Against Women awards organised by Zero Tolerance, we are now collecting examples of good journalism and writing about domestic and sexual violence and abuse to make it clear that it is possible to write about DSVA without resorting to myths, misrepresentations, minimisation and victim blaming.

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