Domestic violence can be defined as any form of violent or aggressive physical or emotional behavior exhibited in the home. Domestic violence usually involves the violent abuse or mis-treatment of a spouse or partner. Statistics show that women are the most likely victims of domestic violence. One in three women and one in four men have been victims of domestic violence at the hands of their spouses or partners in their lifetime. It is estimated that nearly twenty people are physically abused by their intimate partners every minute in the United States. This translates to more than 10 million men and women who are victims of domestic violence every year in the country (NCADV, 2014). Research has also shown that in two out of three female homicide cases, the victims are usually killed by their intimate partners. The media has been a very instrumental tool in trying to eradicate domestic violence across the world as well as giving a platform for victims of domestic abuse to share their experiences. This has helped greatly in inspiring other victims of domestic violence to come forward and report those who are abusing them. However, there are many instances when the media does not accurately cover domestic violence stories. This leads to the victims suffering even more both in public and in private. In some instances, the victims have lost their lives at the hands of their partners for trusting the media with their persona stories. This paper will summarize an article, and then examine if it was written professionally and accurately.
Summary of the Article
The article covers the story of a twenty-eight year old woman who finally opens up and narrates her story. It describes how her lover abused the woman. However, the article does not provide the real names of both the woman and the man in question. The story begins by describing how the woman and her lover first got into a relationship. The two met in London where the woman had moved to after she found a job. Their relationship kicked off. The story describes how the man gradually changed from being the sweet lover to being very violent. It all begins with the man complaining about most of the things the woman does. He complains about the makeup she puts on, the clothes she wears, how long she spends at work, and even the men she speaks to. Gradually the man unleashes his true self. He abused her, spat on her and even hit her. Her first attempt to threaten him by reporting to the authorities backfired leaving her terrified and helpless against the beast he had become. The beatings continued and went on and on until one day when he attacked her with a corkscrew. She finally got the courage to walk away. Through the support of her family and friends she underwent treatment and was able to rebuild her life and confidence ('My partner abused me', 2014.).
There are various aspects that have to be addressed when covering such stories (Covering Domestic Violence: A Guide for Informed Media, n.d.). The article has overlooked most of the elements. It does not bring to the attention of the readers of any prior incidences of violence that the man was involved in. There are no people mentioned in the article who can speak for the man. In fact, the article does not even provide the readers with any information about the man. No friends or neighbors are mentioned or if there were any around. It does not look at the impacts of domestic violence beyond the victim, and there is also no mention of how the abusers can get help only that she had received help when she left the abuser. Furthermore, the writer does not consult with or seek any statement from a recognized domestic violence expert or any local domestic violence advocate. However, the writer tried to provide the causes and triggers of the violence, as well as spoke about how she tried to leave once, and things got worse. Considering all the issues, it is right to conclude that the article does not accurately cover the story on domestic violence per the media guide and what the true portrait is in this story of the abused woman.
According to the Washington State Coalition against Domestic Violence (2008), many media reports on domestic violence are usually inaccurate. For instance, many of the media reports do not label domestic violence related deaths as acts of domestic violence. They do not cite any prior incidences of domestic violence in such cases such as prior police investigation or protection orders.
This article has failed in its attempt to accurately cover this specific domestic violence story. There is no mention of investigation as to whether the man has ever been in another violent relationship prior to this one. The writer of the article should have asked the police if such a call was ever made to them and how they reacted to it. The writer should have also done a background check on the perpetrator using previous police records to determine if this was his first or consequent domestic violence incident. There are also no witnesses who can speak to the character of the parties involved. There is scarcely any information on the man that can help the readers understand where his violent nature stems from.
In addition, the writer of the story does not consult with any domestic violence experts or advocates who can provide more insight into such cases. A story that covers a domestic violence issue needs to be supported by evidence or information given by the domestic violence experts. The experts will be able to inform the readers on how and why the domestic violence perpetrator was controlling his/her partner. This way the readers will be sure to note the signs of an abusive relationship from the onset (Washington State Coalition against Domestic Violence, 2008). Considering all these issues, the article dos not accurately cover the details of this woman’s domestic violence ordeal. The article needs to be reviewed and all the relevant information be included in order to be fully informative.
Media coverage of domestic violence was previously shunned upon because the subject was deemed a taboo much like suicide. This non-coverage made it seem that domestic violence stories were irrelevant to the public. However, due to increased public awareness, media outlets have been swayed to tell the stories of these innocent victims. Media coverage has been essential in exposing the vice of domestic violence across the globe. It has been a useful instrument in bringing the plight of domestic violence victims to light as well as the perpetrators. Despite its usefulness, media coverage of domestic violence issues is usually vague and full of incorrect facts. These media stories need to be written in a professional and accurate manner because these are stories of a sensitive nature. When written accurately and professionally, the media stories can achieve their intended purpose of telling the victim’s story without further endangering him or her.
'My partner abused me'. (2014). Retrieved October 24, 2015, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/women1839/Pages/Domesticviolencerealstory.aspx
Covering Domestic Violence: A Guide for Informed Media ... (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2015, from http://ag.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/agnvgov/Content/Hot_Topics/Victims/DVPC/MEDIAGUIDE.pdf
National Coalition against Domestic Violence (2014). National Statistics on domestic violence rates in the United States. Retrieved on 24/10/2015 from http://www.ncadv.org/learn/statistics
Washington State Coalition against Domestic Violence (2008). Covering domestic violence: A guide for Journalists and Other Media Professionals. Retrieved on 24/10/2015 from http://wscadv.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Media-Guide-2008.pdf