Media coverage of sexual offenses for political purposes seriously compromises the cause of the victims of sexual violence in the society

In the context of a recent journalistic publication related to a well-known case of rape, occurred in our country, the International Center "La Strada" states the following:

It is grave that an extremely sensitive social subject, such as sexual offenses, is used in political interests.

Media coverage of sexual violence from the perspective of victim’s biography compromises the subject and divert public opinion from the core of the phenomenon (committed crime), considering the issues that are not related to the investigation and documentation of the cases of sexual assaults.

Such approaches to sexual abuse reinforce the stereotypes - so deeply rooted in our society - that the woman is the one that provokes; that if she spends time in the nightclubs, "she deserves to be raped", etc.

Every professional journalist should know that the job of the victim, her place of work, her family status, whether or not she has children has absolutely no relevance in investigating rape offenses. Moreover, such interpretations, in addition to stigmatizing the victim, also contribute to the discrimination of the child, who must be protected from any harmful information. 

We have always waited from the media for qualitative, equidistant and unbiased materials, reflecting, the system's response to crimes, above all. But now, maybe more than ever, there is a need for other approaches to the subject: whether or not the rights of the victim and the rights of the perpetrator in court and during the investigation of the case have been respected, whether the system's response was timely enough etc. The presentation of cases of sexual abuse, so sensitive, concerning a person's private life from the perspective of moral qualities or persons’ biographies, are purposeless if we are talking about quality journalism. Repeated victimization of the injured party, blaming the victims of rape, in general, and discouraging anyone who has ever lived or will ever experience sexual violence - this is the most obvious and most regrettable impact of this editorial policy.

The mission of the media and civil society, among other things, is to encourage each victim to seek help or report the case to the police.

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