In Argentina, Using Words To Change Attitudes

Illustration for article titled In Argentina, Using Words To Change Attitudes

Argentina, which elected Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to be its first woman President last year, is like most countries in that it has a problem with violence against women. Via Feministe, a group of more than 100 Argentinian journalists came together a wrote a manifesto describing their commitment to changing the way they report about gender violence. Their commitment, and what the U.S. media could try out, are after the jump.The Argentinan journalists committed to 10 principles when reporting on gender violence, including a protection of the identity of the victim (something most U.S. news outlet do unless the victim agrees otherwise); an agreement not to use pictures identifying the victim; identifying the aggressor; and actively refusing to refer to the incident as a "crime of passion" or list the so-called mitigating circumstances that are likely to be employed by the defense at trial. Many times — both here and in Argentina (and elsewhere) — the circumstances surrounding the crime are laid out and couched in terms of jealousy or supposedly mitigated by drug or alcohol abuse. The thing is that there is nothing romantic about jealousy, particularly if it ends in violence, and nothing tragic for the abuser in the loss of his liberty or relationship due to his violent tendencies. Those are legitimate consequences for his abhorrent actions and the media needs to do a good job in de-romanticizing and delegitimizing the actions of abusers. That said, Feministe's Cara thinks that the media should additional refrain from referring to "rape" as "sex" and from using the passive voice ("she was raped" instead of "This sick fucking asshole 'allegedly' raped her") to describe acts of sexual violence. I'm totally on board with that. Where can we go to get local reporters to sign this thing? Argentinian Journalists Develop Plan For Non-Sexist Reporting [Feministe]


Kali Mama

Totally cosign with not calling rape sex.

It's even used in molestation cases, such as "he had sex with that child".

It's probably not intentional and reporters try to not repeat the same words too often but the message gets muddled like that.