Rape and domestic abuse are sensitive topics to cover in the news. There’s always an issue with the avoidance of victim blaming.
“What often happens in these stories is that the victims are considered guilty, and the rapists are considered innocent,” Claudia Garcia-Rojas of the Columbia Journalism Review said.
The victims are blamed for their skimpy clothing or their provocative attitude and the rapists just so happen to get lured in. News stations do have the ability, however, to explore the crime beyond briefly stating it, the victim(s), and the suspect(s). News stories that cover rape and domestic abuse deserve a deeper discussion, one that may often and absolutely should involve the word misogyny, a word scarcely used because it seems too intense to describe a situation.
“The cable news channels revel in stories about women (almost always young and attractive) who come to a gruesome end at the hands of violent men. The stories seldom, if ever, raise the issue of misogyny, which permeates not just the crimes themselves, but the coverage as well,” New York Times reporter Bob Herbert said.
The topic of misogyny and sexism in general is also pushed away for time’s sake. With an issue such as this, news reporters could be spending hours sharing their opinions with the world. It isn’t that a single reporter doesn’t think of the ways an abuse crime could be explained simply by the word misogyny, but it’s by holding the idea in their head that bringing sexism into the story makes for a very deep conversation–one today’s society would rather hear about celebrities. It’s also not considered something newsworthy because of the fact that this year, a woman is killed every 2.38 days due to suspected male violence. It’s happening all too often, and we’re used to it.
Misogyny is not only seen in cases of rape and domestic abuse. The stigma of misogyny has been paired several times with mass shootings and is becoming a key cause of them in the United States, according to some online newspapers. In the last six major cases of mass shootings, readers find several references to misogyny or a sexual frustration supposedly caused by the women at the school or in the community. Dylan Klebold, a shooter from Columbine, “wrote extensively about his romantic loneliness and a girl he had a crush on in his private diary”.
Newsweek writer Zach Schonfeld also notes that Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, had complained about his sexual frustrations and a woman that rejected him. These young men truly believed that women never gave them a chance because they (the women) were self-absorbed and mean.
“Women are being killed in a society that sends the message, clearly and repeatedly, that they are sexual objects for men’s gratification and possession.”
The killer knows their motive, whether it be a desire for revenge, or jealousy, or a hatred of some sort. A hatred that they may not be able to explain beyond exactly what women have been stereotyped as: sex objects.
Once the women have gained the bravery to tell someone about their situation, more often than not, domestic abuse is a difficult situation to escape. Women often have to sacrifice food on the table and healthy children so they can leave the fear they endure at home or at work.
“Whether it be in Africa, India, Iran, (or in this case) the United States, women who feel trapped within their families fear that they may be beaten or killed if they attempt to leave” Estelle B. Freedman, author of Expanding the Definition: Sexual Harassment and Domestic Violence, said.
The idea here is not to break out and question every American woman in an abusive relationship because it becomes more or less targeting the victim. The idea is to put the word out there and the fact that there is a starting point for ending domestic abuse and rape. This begins with news stations appropriately bringing the word misogyny to the table, and discussing its relevance in America’s crimes. This begins with informing Americans not only of what misogyny is, but of how common of an opinion it is among male and female felons nationwide.