I Think: Journalists should encourage survivors to report incidents

Ramani N V, retired administrator, Bangalore

‘Sexual violence is a disease you read about everywhere — but you see nothing being done to stop it.’ Photo courtesy: Ramani N V

I am angry and disappointed at the way our society is moving forward. Even after 71 years of independence, we have not truly attained freedom. Sexual violence is a disease that you read about everywhere — but you see nothing being done to stop it.

The last incident I read about was a man raping his own daughter. How could someone be so vile they commit such a sin to one’s own flesh and blood? Reading about that incident made me think that there is no one you could trust and no place that is safe.

Majority of sexual violence incidents in our country are concealed. Victims do not speak about what happened to them out of fear of being treated unfairly and labelled by the society.

Instead of considering this issue taboo, parents and teachers should educate children. Not only should our daughters be asked to learn to defend themselves, but we should educate our sons to treat the opposite gender with respect.

Media portrayal plays a major role in highlighting these incidents. Journalists have the power to create awareness and create change. They should work with NGOs and social workers to achieve these objectives.

Journalists should support and encourage survivors to report incidents. They should focus on how society reacts to these incidents, what the victim or survivor faces after speaking out — and also, what happens if they don’t speak about it. They should encourage people to have an open mind and not blame the victim.

This is one in a series of articles that NewsTracker published from 25 November to 10 December as part of the #16Days activism, aligned with the UN’s International Day for Ending Violence Against Women. This piece appeared on Day 15.