Everyday Victim Blaming

challenging institutional disbelief around domestic & sexual violence and abuse

News media still protect powerful men accused of sexual misconduct by Lindsey Blumell

When Fox News host Bill O'Reilly was finally fired after years of sexual harassment claims, it seemed like a welcome break from the norm: an exceptionally powerful man accused of sexual misconduct was for once not protected at all costs. While various harassment claims against Donald Trump failed to stop him in his path to the White House, O'Reilly, it seems, was not as invulnerable as he thought.

Yet while these two men faced very different outcomes, their cases have a lot in common. Crucially, the coverage of and public reaction to these incidents in fact reinforced some of the core elements of rape culture – a pervasive set of ideas and beliefs that normalise and even condone sexual misconduct in general, ultimately protecting perpetrators at the expense of victims.

But wait. Wasn’t O’Reilly brought down by a New York Times investigation? Wasn’t it the Washington Post who obtained the infamous tape of Trump caught bragging about sexually assaulting women with impunity? Yes It’s time to interrogate the role the media plays in protecting high-profile men accused of sexual misconduct, and in perpetuating the insidious myths they benefit from. ...

 

This article first appeared on The Conversation UK on 27.4.17. You can find the full text here. 

 

 

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 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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