Pune-based queer activist Bindumadhav Khire talks about the media reportage of sexual violence in the LGBTQ+ community.
India has many known and unknown women who have succumbed to bhaya and the birth of every Nirbhaya makes bhaya stronger and mightier.
Every day, there occurs an undetermined number of incidents of rape and sexual violence across India. But only a small proportion of these are reported to the police, and of these, not every incident makes it into the newspapers.
The sensationalism that this case has garnered, which has been fuelled by the media, does not push for this self-critical public conversation that our country needs.
The media often refuses to term gender-based violence what it is. By using allusions and euphemisms rather than its correct terminology, it runs the risk of reducing the gravity of the crime, and negating survivors’ experiences of the trauma it can cause.
When the media professionals interview survivors of gender-based violence, they must keep in mind that they are asking survivors or their families to recount an extremely traumatic experience.
Rachana Mudraboyina, creator of TransVision, India’s first YouTube channel for transgender issues, is fighting to tell the stories that others do not want to.
The news framing of an incident of rape can heavily influence how it is understood by society – as a public problem instead of a ‘woman’s mistake’.
Shows like Crime Patrol, Savdhaan India, Gunah and Sansani have made a fortune out of turning trauma into entertainment, and making a mockery of these cases under the guise of 'awareness' or 'gender sensitisation'.
Given the above, it looks like most rape reports in the news media present an incomplete picture. The public perception of rape, however, depends heavily on how it is reported.