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gbvinmedia square1Editor’s Note: This post is a part of the #GBVinMedia Campaign, which interrogates mainstream media’s reportage of gender-based violence from an intersectional feminist perspective. Many of these insights are based on the #GBVinMedia toolkit, released by FII as a guide for journalists and media professionals to report gender-based violence sensitively and ethically. If you wish to get in touch regarding this campaign, please email asmita@feminisminindia.com.

For the past six months, FII has been running a campaign called #GBVinMedia. The campaign is aimed at identifying problematic areas in the coverage of gender-based violence (GBV) in the media, and offering sensitive and ethical suggestions to rectify them. A large part of our critique has focussed on the stock images used by Indian newspapers to report rape and other forms of GBV, depicting women as cowering away from looming hands, or running away in tears from a larger-than-life shadow, or being physically assaulted and silenced. Most of these visuals also portray conventionally beautiful women, adding an element of sexualisation to a horrific crime.

Also read: The Media Needs To Use Better Images When It Reports Rape | #GBVinMedia

These images reinforce the notion that women are victims who are helpless in the face of sexual predation. The perpetrator is missing in these images, removing the focus (and hence, the accountability) on him. They might also be exceedingly triggering for survivors of rape and other sexual crimes as they depict women in the moment of their violation. In our #GBVinMedia toolkit, we recommend the use of images that portray the strength and resilience of women, for e.g., images from protests or organised women’s movements, or better artwork!

To counter these images, FII set up a crowdsourced art project. We reached out to artists and designers to send us alternatives to the stock images used for rape. We got a huge response – 26 artists sent in a total of 52 works of art! We shortlisted these top ten images, which are below.

These images have the CC-BY 4.0 license. You are free to copy, redistribute, adapt and build upon these images for commercial or non-commercial purposes. The images must be credited as given below upon usage. We encourage media houses and platforms to use these works of art freely when writing about and reporting gender-based violence and rape.

1. ‘Perpetrator in Jail’ by Srishti Sharma. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @srishtinot.
Image Credit: Srishti Sharma/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Srishti Sharma/Feminism in India

2. Solidarity Against Violence by Aasawari Kulkarni. You can follow her on Instagram at @aasawari_kulkarni.
Image Credit: Aasawari Kulkarni/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Aasawari Kulkarni/Feminism In India

3.STOP’ by Aasawari Kulkarni. You can follow her on Instagram at @aasawari_kulkarni.
Image Credit: Aasawari Kulkarni/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Aasawari Kulkarni/Feminism In India

4. ‘We Will Shake Patriarchy To The Core’ by Arpita Biswas. You can follow her on Facebook.
Image Credit: Arpita Biswas/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Arpita Biswas/Feminism in India

5. ‘Ab Bas’ (Now, Enough!) by Sunidhi Kothari. You can follow her on Instagram as @spiltlipstick.
Image Credit: Sunidhi Kothari/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Sunidhi Kothari/Feminism In India

6. ‘Won’t Be Silenced’ by Simlyn J. You can follow her on Instagram and Behance.
Image Credit: Simlyn J/Feminism In India

7. ‘No Means No’ by Simlyn J. You can follow her on Instagram and Behance.
Image Credit: Simlyn J/Feminism In India

8. Workplace Harassment by Marva M. You can follow her on Behance and on Instagram at @marva_kulsumbi.
Image Credit: Marva M/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Marva M/ Feminism In India

9. No More Kathua by Marva M. You can follow her on Behance and on Instagram at @marva_kulsumbi.
Image Credit: Marva M/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Marva M/Feminism In India

10. Two-Faced Violence by Sugandhaa Pandey. You can follow her on her blog and on LinkedIn.
Image Credit: Sugandhaa Pandey/Feminism In India

Image Credit: Sugandhaa Pandey/Feminism In India

We hope these stock images can change the way that gender-based violence is represented in the media. Do feel free to share this resource with any and all media professionals you know!


This crowdsourced art project was conducted by Asmita Ghosh of Feminism in India.

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