Inthe US today, one in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in herlifetime. Nearly three out of four (74%) Americans know someone personally whois or has been a victim of domestic violence.*
Clearly,domestic violence is a big problem in our country – but you wouldn’t know it by reading TheChicago Tribune.
Thepaper’s coverage of domestic violence continues to perpetuate the myth thatthese crimes are random, isolated events rather than the result of ongoingescalation.
By adjusting its reporting standards, The Tribune can help send send a different message:domestic violence is a real, societal problem that affects us all.
We ask that you use theterm domestic violence when reporting on homicides between intimate partnersand stop minimizing these crimes by calling them domestic “disturbances,instances, or disputes.”
Additionally,we call on you to follow the guidelines for responsible coverage of these cases developed by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV).These include:·
Stop Violence Against Women
We are asking that The Chicago Tribune lead the charge for more responsible media coverage of domestic violence by following standards in the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV) guide for journalists covering domestic violence.
Domestic violence is not an angry outburst - it is a learned behavior. This learned behavior is further reinforced when abusers receive the message from society at large that violence against women is acceptable.
In July of this year, The Tribune wrote: "A 39-year-old woman was killed in an apparent domestic incident in Addison overnight." The reporter minimizes the violence by calling the murder a "disturbance", doesn't speak to the realities of domestic violence and there is no input from an expert or resources for the community to access.
There are countless other examples of articles taken from representative samples that the paper published in August, September, and October of 2011 that display this same reporting pattern: reinforcing myths and inaccuracies about domestic violence by implying victim-blaming or abuser-excusing attitudes, blaming the act on cultural or class differences, and reinforcing the idea that the fatal violence came out of the blue as opposed to being the culmination of a history of violence and controlling behaviors.
***Statistical source: http://dvrc-or.org/domestic/violence/resources/C61/#dom