FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 24, 2012
THE CHICAGO TASKFORCE ON VIOLENCE AGAINST GIRLS & YOUNG WOMEN PUBLISHES A MEDIA TOOLKIT FOR LOCAL AND NATIONAL JOURNALISTS TO BETTER MEDIA COVERAGE
Contact: Claudia Garcia –Rojas: firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO: The Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women publishes a Media Toolkit to disseminate to members of the press. Reporting on Rape and Sexual Violence: A Media Toolkit for Local and National Journalists To Better Media Coverage addresses common issues stemming from how media currently structures news around rape and sexual violence, and how journalists can better report on these issues. The Toolkit provides concrete facts about the problem of violence against girls and young women; suggestions about issues to be covered regarding violence against girls, including the Taskforce’s recommendations of use of language, ways to end violence, and information about key organizations. This Toolkit is not only necessary for helping address the ever-deepening stigma around rape and sexual violence, but a critical and timely resource to address the pervasiveness of rape culture in society. Mariame Kaba, Co-Founder of The Chicago Taskforce states, “Media portrayals about sexual and domestic violence in the lives of young women contribute to raising public consciousness about these serious and important issues. It is important that these portrayals be accurate and well-informed. We believe that this toolkit will help to inform those who are responsible for telling these stories.”
Sharmili Majmudar, Executive Director of Rape Victim Advocates adds that, “One of the results of recent attention in the media on sexual violence is a greater opportunity to have a public dialogue and replace often victim-blaming myths with education. However, if the reporting itself is inadvertently based on those myths, not only is the opportunity lost, but the victim-blaming continues unchecked and the public remains uninformed.
Through our work at Rape Victim Advocates, we see how language is crucial in creating and sometimes reinforcing decades-old cultural beliefs about sexual violence. This Toolkit provides timely, easy to use guidelines that allow journalists to honor their ethical obligation to be unbiased and write with accurate language about sexual violence, whether they are a crime beat reporter or an investigative journalist.”
The Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women was founded to develop a comprehensive, citywide approach to ending violence against girls. Established in fall 2009, the Taskforce unites stakeholders from across Chicago to address the question: What conditions need to exist locally and statewide to end violence against girls and young women?
The Taskforce has become a central space to bring together practitioners and policy advocates with the goal of developing a comprehensive strategy to end violence against girls and young women. The Taskforce has released papers and data analyses to develop the field and draw attention to the issue, brought together hundreds of organizational representatives in discussions, raised the issue with public officials such as the Cook County Women’s Commission, and begun to build a stronger infrastructure for supporting girls’ safety in Chicago. Additional data analyses and reports can be found at http://chitakforce.org.