A short exploration of the terminology used in Hindi, Tamil and English newspapers

Journalists cannot help readers make sense of the world without using the right vocabulary themselves. Photo: Andrea Kirkby/Flickr

Pranati Narayan Visweswaran and Ankita Mathur

The term ‘sexual violence’ covers a spectrum of acts — including but not limited to rape, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence — that are perpetrated without explicit consent. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines sexual violence as “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work”.

However, different types of acts of sexual violence may…


Karan Singh, bartender, Goa

Photo courtesy: Karan Singh

I don’t really get too much time to see the news. When I do read the news it is usually about sports like football and rugby. I sometimes watch the English-language news channels, but not often. I hear about rape sometimes, but I don’t really like seeing news about these things. It makes me ask how people can think and do things like this.

For me, rape is not how the news makes it out to be. The news makes these issues seem over-the-top. I don’t think it is actually what they are making it seem like. They are speaking…


The media has discussed death penalty ad nauseam, but speaks little of reformative justice

There is scarce mention in the Indian news media of reformation and rehabilitation as an alternative to retributive justice. Photo: Vishwaant Avk, CC BY 2.0

Over the past few years, India has taken what has been described as a “strong” stance against sexual violence. The death penalty is, thanks to new laws, now applicable in cases of rape that result in the victim entering a vegetative state or dying, as well as the sexual assault of a girl under the age of 12. Both legislations were passed in the backdrop of mounting public and media pressure over two different cases — the Delhi gang-rape of 2012 and the Kathua rape and murder of 2018.

In both cases, the new laws resulted in a media debate…


Pune-based queer activist Bindumadhav Khire on the media reportage of sexual violence in the LGBTQ+ community

Bindumadhav Khire, the founder of the queer sexual health organisation Samapathik Trust, believes that the media cannot be blamed entirely for the invisibility of sexual violence in the LGBTQ+ community

Sexual harassment and violence can take place anywhere and to anyone, irrespective of gender or sexuality. So far, though, when it comes to the queer community there is usually silence — from the media and even from survivors — on the subject. However, with homosexuality having been decriminalised in India, a space has opened up for a more open and inclusive conversation on sexual violence perpetrated against men (gay or straight) as well as queer and transgender people.

NewsTracker spoke to Pune-based queer activist Bindumadhav Khire about sexual crimes that fall outside the ambit of man-on-woman violence, as well as…


Jeroze Bhadha, cabin crew member, Mumbai

‘ News channels should focus social change — it is the need of the hour.’

As a cabin crew member, safety is my primary function. Although cases of sexual harassment are not very common on aircrafts, we must still be proactive and keep our eyes open. I once requested a man to change seats as he was sitting next to a girl child flying alone. It is our job to keep people safe, which includes this kind of safety.

When it comes to news on matters such as sexual harassment, I just want the basic facts. I prefer the newspaper to television news. I don’t like to watch channels where there are experts screaming at…

Pranati Narayan Visweswaran

Student, Musician, Animal lover, and Human rights

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