Praneeta had always been a fiercely independent and strong-willed woman. She had grown up in a small town where women were often seen as second-class citizens, but she refused to let that define her. Instead, she had worked hard to excel in her studies and land a job as a journalist in the city.
It was in the city that she first became acutely aware of the critical importance of media narratives in shaping our perceptions of women’s safety. She had seen how the media could either empower or disempower women, depending on the way they chose to frame stories about gender-based violence.
One particular incident had stayed with her. It was a story about a young woman who had been brutally raped and murdered on her way back from work. The media had portrayed her as a victim who had somehow brought the assault upon herself by being out late at night. The narrative had been so pervasive that even her own family members had started to believe it.
Praneeta knew this was wrong. She knew that no woman deserved to be violated or killed simply because she was trying to earn a living. And so she had made it her mission to change the media narrative around women’s safety.
She started by writing articles that challenged the victim-blaming discourse that had become so commonplace. She interviewed survivors of sexual assault and harassment and gave them a platform to share their stories. She also started to organize events and workshops aimed at educating people about the realities of gender-based violence and the importance of media representation.
At first, she faced a lot of resistance. Many of her colleagues saw her as too radical and thought that she was making a mountain out of a molehill. But Praneeta refused to back down. She knew that her work was too important to be dismissed as mere activism.
Slowly but surely, she started to make an impact. Her articles were gaining traction, and people were starting to take notice. She even managed to get a few high-profile media outlets to change the way they covered stories about women’s safety.
But Praneeta’s journey was far from easy. She faced a lot of backlash and even received death threats from people who didn’t want to see the status quo challenged. But she refused to be intimidated. She knew that her work was making a difference, and that was all that mattered.
Today, Praneeta is a powerful advocate for change. She continues to write and speak about the critical importance of media narratives in promoting women’s safety. She has inspired countless others to speak out against gender-based violence and work towards a world where all women can feel safe and secure.
The story of Praneeta is a testament to the power of media narratives in shaping our perceptions of women’s safety. It shows us that the stories we tell about gender-based violence can either reinforce harmful stereotypes or empower survivors and promote positive change.
As individuals and as a society, we have a responsibility to promote positive media narratives that center on women’s safety and wellbeing. We must challenge victim-blaming discourses and work towards creating a culture of accountability and respect.
By doing so, we can create a world where women can live free from fear and violence, and where their voices are heard and valued. The power of media narratives is in our hands – let us use it wisely.
Steps Media can take on women’s safety and wellbeing
To ensure that they promote positive media narratives on the women’s safety agenda, the media should take the following steps:
- Train journalists: The media should provide training to journalists on how to report on gender-based violence in a way that is sensitive, accurate, and responsible. This training should cover topics such as survivor-centered reporting, trauma-informed interviewing techniques, and ethical considerations when reporting on sexual assault.
- Diversify newsrooms: Newsrooms should be diverse and representative of the communities they serve. This means ensuring that there is a good mix of genders, races, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds. A diverse newsroom can help ensure that different perspectives are represented in the reporting on women’s safety issues.
- Appoint an ombudsman: The media should appoint an ombudsman or a person who is responsible for addressing complaints and feedback related to their coverage of women’s safety issues. This person should be independent and have the power to investigate complaints and recommend changes to the editorial policies and practices.
- Consult with survivors: The media should consult with survivors of gender-based violence and seek their input on how stories are reported. Survivors should be given the option to remain anonymous and have their privacy protected. This consultation can help ensure that survivor voices are centered in the reporting and that the impact of gender-based violence is accurately conveyed.
- Highlight solutions and positive narratives: The media should not just focus on the problem of gender-based violence but also highlight solutions and positive narratives. This can include stories of survivors who have overcome the trauma and are leading successful lives, initiatives that are working to prevent gender-based violence, and successful prosecutions of perpetrators.
- Fact-check and verify sources: The media should always fact-check and verify their sources before publishing any story related to women’s safety. This can help prevent the spread of misinformation and false narratives that can harm survivors and further perpetuate harmful stereotypes.
- Avoid victim-blaming: The media should avoid victim-blaming and focus on the actions of perpetrators. They should also avoid using language that trivializes gender-based violence, such as referring to it as “domestic dispute” or “lover’s quarrel.”
By taking these steps, the media can ensure that they are on top of the women’s safety agenda and are reporting on gender-based violence in a responsible and sensitive manner. This can help create a culture of accountability and respect and promote positive change in our society.