October 24, 2007

October Media Coverage of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Thanks to CALCASA for the sourcing...


Lucinda Marshall, from AlterNet, reviewed nine magazine publications this month and compared the amount coverage devoted to breast cancer and domestic violence.
“Although October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM), we’d much rather be aware of breasts, even sick ones, than talk about black eyes and things that aren’t supposed to go on behind closed doors. That point is reflected in women’s magazines, which devote much more space in their October issues to breast cancer than they do to domestic violence.”
All of the magazines Marshall reviewed advertised breast cancer articles on their covers but only two contained information on Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Marshall also pointed out, “that we shrink away from black eyes. Breasts, on the other hand, are highly marketable commodities…Such irresponsible coverage of breast cancer and blindness to domestic violence suggest that many publications are less concerned with women’s health than with making a buck.”
This story highlights how difficult it is to get effective coverage of both domestic violence and sexual assault in today’s media. Although the media is perfectly happy covering “public health issues” to varying degrees of accuracy, they rarely if ever address the broad societal costs associated with violence against women. Sexual assault in particular is often relegated to stories focusing on sex offenders and “stranger-danger” coverage made common for their ability to “scare up” ratings.
To read the full article, click here.