Enduring Themes and Silences in Media Portrayals of Violence Against Women

48 Women Studies International Forum: 103-113, 2015

Posted: 30 Jan 2015 Last revised: 28 Sep 2018

See all articles by Patricia L. Easteal

Patricia L. Easteal

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice

Keziah Judd

University of Canberra

Kate Holland

University of Canberra - Faculty of Arts and Design

Date Written: January 15, 2015

Abstract

This paper looks at different ways of conceptualising the influence of media with respect to its potential to reinforce or transform public opinion about violence against women. We engage the question of whether media portrayals of the issue are essentially conservative and how this conservatism may be communicated behind a mask of factual objectivity and through brief and simplistic narratives. Our sample of the relevant research literature shows that by using several framing techniques, the ‘reality’ of family violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment is constructed via a recurrent theme of mutuality of responsibility for the violence. Such reportage may obstruct the feminist understanding of these harms as gendered and reflective of male dominance, sexism and misogyny. It also may impede and delay feminist aims of better ensuring women’s safety from violence and of improving victims’ access to justice.

Keywords: Media portrayal, violence against women, media framing

JEL Classification: K19

Suggested Citation

Easteal, Patricia L. and Judd, Keziah and Holland, Kate, Enduring Themes and Silences in Media Portrayals of Violence Against Women (January 15, 2015). 48 Women Studies International Forum: 103-113, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2557112

Patricia L. Easteal (Contact Author)

University of Canberra - School of Law and Justice ( email )

Australia

Keziah Judd

University of Canberra ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Kate Holland

University of Canberra - Faculty of Arts and Design ( email )

Australia

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