Words Matter

Reframing the conversation around Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse.

This post is a collective piece, thanks to all who have contributed. It is going to focus on men who abuse women and children. We acknowledge that there are female offenders, but this post will not be discussing them. It comes with a content note for Domestic & Sexual Violence and Abuse.

What do we mean when we say language matters? The words that we use say a great deal about our interactions with the world, about us, and about how we discuss difficult topics. The words that we choose need to have impact and power if they are going to help us change the issues around domestic and sexual violence and abuse.

We’re going to start with problematic terms that we’ve been sent by our site contributors, and include some alternatives. These alternatives help to reframe the debate – using terms that some may find upsetting needs to be balanced with a decision that we make a conscious choice to use terms that reflect what we are actually talking about. This avoids us talking around the topic.

Thanks to Everyday Victim BlamingFull article and downloadable PDF HERE

OUR WATCH: End violence against our Women And Their Children

Domestic violence and Sexual violence are serious problems in Australia, and there is still a great deal of stigma attached to them both. When you’re reporting on domestic and sexual violence, you can help readers, listeners and viewers to see it as an important issue that everyone can take action on. You can report on this issue in a way that informs, educates, and contributes usefully to public dialogue. Guidelines below:

– Reporting on Sexual Violence guidelines HERE

– Reporting on Domestic Violence guidelines HERE

* EVAs Reporting Guidelines for Journalists

lists current statistics, who to call for comment and ‘Dos and Don’ts’ on reporting on violence against women.

It is a two page document that can easily be printed, displayed in the workplace, and quickly referred to when preparing pieces on violence against women.

Reclaim the Night Perth condemns the practice of reporting family annihilators as though males killing their children and sometimes partners/ exes is not a pattern but simply a mystery occurrence.

For more details and to support their campaign asking for Responsible Reporting of Male Volence Against Women, see this sharable Facebook note and this blog post, Murder, Mystery & Misogyny in Oz

For more examples see:

Disability and murder: victim blaming at its very worst by Stella Young, 2014

Retired police officer kills daughters and self, 2015

There are also several examples in our count of Women allegedly murdered by known or suspected male violence in Australia, 2015

Related:

‘Sex Work’

TERF is a silencing tool

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