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The Media Coverage of Sexual Violence panel, held in the George Vari Engineering building, illuminated a discussion on the language of process within the media’s sexual assault coverage.
The seven panelists of Tuesday’s event discussed the central theme – there is a need to change the language journalists use when writing sexual assault stories.
Sandra Diaz stressed the importance of contextual writing by journalists, saying “any incidence stats are largely based on reporting and we know less than 10 per cent of women report sexual violence, so the numbers are inaccurate.”
The panel challenged journalists to recognize their own biases. They also want reporters to understand the role they play in helping people understand conversations around sex.
“Our understanding of objectivity as young journalists is often linked to what is the status quo,” said panelist Stephanie Guthrie.
The first step in effecting real change to rape culture, Guthrie said, is to change the way the media approaches reporting on the issue. Panelists also said that journalists have to start dialogue of engagement rather than victimization and to stop using harsh language in reports.
Follow the live-blog coverage below to get an inside look at the event: