Rape in the Media

The media covers many difficult subjects. Many of which, the reader may not wish to see put in black and white. Reading printed articles on topics such as legalization of marijuana, gay marriage, and gun control. But what about rape? Do we see this in the media enough? Does the media address appropriately?
With the increase of social media interactions online, news about rape, videos and status postings, can spread around more quickly. It could be a post of someone you have no connection to, but possibly a friend of a friend of a second cousin. In some cases a girl is raped, her rapist(s) film it on a camera phone, the video goes viral, and she gets called a slut. This is what happened with Rehtaeh Parsons  in Nova Scotia. There have been too many cases where such rape victims (both male and female) end up committing suicide because no one believes their story, or the offender is not convicted.
Rape is a delicate subject, but it is a serious one. The media cannot take the subject of rape lightly and it is equally important to carefully cover the victim’s situation as well as that of the offender or convicted. In March, a few high school football players from Steubenville, Ohio were convicted of raping a girl once evidence through a video was spread virally through social media.
There is no argument that rape is wrong, but perhaps there is a right and wrong way to discuss rape within the media. The media should be obligated to cover and address news that the public needs to be made aware of.  Cases of rape, especially those that have tried to file complaints or gain a court hearing, need to be covered.
In this case, not only does the issue of rape show flaws in our societal behavior and morals, but the blemishes on our justice system. Even when rape is difficult for a reporter to cover, the justice system should concern them greatly and provide them with a direction to discuss such a complicated and fragile situation.
When the reporters of Fox News covered the high school rape in Steubenville, Ohio, they did not show concern or remorse for the victim of the rape, but of how saddening it was to see the convicted 16 year-olds cry about how their futures would be ruined. It is disappointing to see young people in our society committing horrible crimes, but the media should show more compassion for and give more attention to their victims.
Reporters need to be cautious and show humane compassion towards those who are downtrodden in society.

Washington Post

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