Jamaica Observer - Think Tank Unhappy With Media Reporting On Gender Violence

The Think Tank Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) has called out sections of the local media for going dangerously close to 'normalising' violence against women and girls in the way these reports are handled.

The think tank, in its latest report — 'Breaking News: Gender-Based Violence in Jamaican News Media' — which was released on Thursday evening, said instances of gender-based violence are often portrayed as natural responses to life's stressors or dissatisfaction with one's relationship, particularly in cases of domestic violence.

According to CAPRI, "by presenting reasons as to why VAWG (violence against women and girls) occurs — like divorce, recent unemployment, financial problems — news media runs the risk of normalising and justifying abuse".

"This presentation is concerning as it reflects the justifications provided by perpetrators of abuse, justifications which, if not addressed, often lead to reoffending," said the report.

Speaking further on the issue the CAPRI said: "Presenting instances of VAWG in this way also nurtures perceptions that it is a private, domestic issue that does not warrant state intrusion, impacting political and public support for future interventions."

According to CAPRI, this further exacerbates the existing low levels of help-seeking behaviours among women who experience violence, and further complicates the internalisation of violent social norms.