World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Indonesia: Attitudes To Rape: The Media's Role

Indonesia: Attitudes To Rape: The Media's Role

* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links: http://www.pmw.c2o.org * Post a comment on PMW's Right of Reply: http://www.TheGuestBook.com/egbook/257949.gbook

The Jakarta Post
June 12, 2002

Opinion: THE ATTITUDES TO RAPE: THE MEDIA'S ROLE

Angela Black, Contributor, Jakarta

Recently I was yet again appalled at media representations of rape, when a local TV network accounted for the cause of sexual violence with this statement: "Women walking at night should not wear mini skirts in order to avoid rape".

This advice was not the result of research and evidence, but of moralistic judgements ironically aimed at female victims. To the viewers the message that they obtain from this is that rape happens only to women wearing seductive clothing and that the men who commit rape are unable to control their desires as a result. Hence, rapists are the innocent targets of seduction by "bad" women who lure otherwise good law-abiding citizens into committing a sexual offence.

Research into rape refutes that there is a necessary cause-effect relationship between seductive clothing and sexual attack. Rather, experts argue that this sort of explanation is merely a myth established to justify female oppression through the control of women's behavior.

Although there can be no qualified data to support such an explanation of "cause", the reports of rape in the media continue to reinforce ignorant

attitudes. The Jakarta Post reported that a man broke into a woman's house just after she had finished taking a bath. The man raped her. The Post felt it necessary to end the report by commenting that the woman was wearing no underwear under her sarong.

As the inclusion of such information was irrelevant, what must the readership think? A woman was raped; she was improperly dressed. Are we to believe that the woman was at fault? There are strong implications here and whether this was intentional or not, the media must accept more responsibility for the role it has in shaping social attitudes.

To target a woman as the guilty party in her own rape has dangerous consequences, because as long as the "cause" is accepted by society as being female seduction, then victims will be reluctant to come forward. They will fear that instead of attaining legal and social justice, they will instead become the object of social condemnation, and accusations that they had somehow "invited" the rape. The knock on effect can only lead to a greater sense of impunity for sex offenders, and instead of preventing rape, may well encourage it.

Should they choose to, it is possible for members of the media to make a

positive contribution toward rape prevention, by first challenging their own preconceived ideas, and the way in which they report such incidents. They can begin by excluding suggestive "victim-blaming" remarks.

As for the readership, we should all take a more active role in rejecting or opposing damaging reports which promote prejudice or sexual violence. Perhaps we should consider the following advice as an alternative to that offered above: Women of any description should monitor the work of the media in order to prevent rape, because we are all potential victims, and only through actively working to change attitudes can we create a social environment in which women are encouraged to seek justice.

+++niuswire

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH ONLINE: http://www.pmw.c2o.org

PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

(c)1996-2002 Copyright - All rights reserved.

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original producers as indicated. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the views of PMW or its members.

Recipients should rely on their own inquiries before making decisions based on material listed in PMW. Please copy appeals to PMW and acknowledge source.

For further information, inquiries about joining the Pacific Media Watch

listserve, articles for publication, and giving feedback contact Pacific

Media Watch at: E-mail: delaro@clear.net.nz Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804 Mail: PO Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or, c/o Journalism, PO Box 1168, Suva, Fiji New website: www.pmw.c2o.org


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Rohingya Muslims Massacred: Restrictions On Aid Put 1000s At Risk

Amnesty: The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

ALSO:

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC