On the 15th day of the 2020 Prajnya 16 Days Campaign Against Gender Violence, we organised The Blue Pencil Workshop, a partnership with Network of Women In Media, India, conducted by Ragamalika Karthikeyan and Ranjitha Gunasekaran.
The online workshop focussed on how one should report gender based violence sensitively. Here are a few points that were discussed in detail during the workshop:
- "Violence happens against cisgender women, children, LGBTIQ+ people and those who dont follow the gender stereotypes and manifests in various forms."
- "Why should we, as journalists, cover GBV? The answer is obvious; because it is a symptom of an unhealthy society. So, we have a duty to cover the discrimination that exists in the society since it is concerning human rights."
- "When we say 'covering GBV', what does it mean? The most basic thing that comes to mind is reporting instances, reporting that rape happened, or a person was sexually abused or that a person faced workplace sexual harassment. But, it is not enough to say something has happened. That the Hathras rape has happened or the Jyoti Singh rape happened. It is important to look at the causes, why it is happening, what the larger context is - especially, the caste or the gender context."
- "One must avoid describing graphic violence.....because it adds to the dehumanising of the marginalised people. For you and me, it can be a story happening somewhere to somebody. But, the person you are writing about- their family, friends and the community are going to be triggered for a very long time. And, by describing the graphic violence, you're adding another layer of trauma to what they are already going through."
- "When we report about LGBTQ+ people, often, we don't talk about rights, about people protesting for their rights or what is it that they want in their policies. We only talk about violent crimes or celebration, parades and colours, which is condescending."
- "Reporting GBV is essential because there is a differential access to resources and opportunities. A person, because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, loses out on going to school, is fed less food, or their study time is spent doing household chores, and often, a reduced access to economic opportunities."
- "Often, people go by the police version of an incident. But, we often forget that the cops are humans, too and they carry the same biases as everyone else in the society. They reproduce the violence in a lot of subtle forms. So, it is important to reach out to the community. It is not a bias if one questions the version of the cops. It is upholding the truth to mention context and to know that authorities tell lies."
- "The only way to put pressure on a system to ensure it works is to track the system."