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Genderlog @genderlogindia
, 14 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
Hi everyone! This is @sohni_c for @Smashboard_. One of the things I want to discuss today is how #sexualharassment and #sexualassault cases are reported in the media. The first issue is the tedious sensationalisation of these cases 1/n
Resulting in the focus remaining on the victim rather than the perpetrator. Hence, adding to stigma, shaming and victim-blaming of the women who face harassment and assault. Also, these attitudes result in reinforcing the #rapeculture where the victim is held at scrutiny. 2/n
Moreover, insensitive and sensational reportage serves to titillate and tease the erotic imagination of abuse, rape and violence. The focus shifts from the violation of the victim to the patriarchal fixation on women's bodies and their sexual freedom. 3/n
It also adds the lens of pity, through the narrative of the woman getting "used" or "made impure" through the act. The only way to generate interest in rape stories is to play into the imagination of what is considered perverted or disgusting to the patriarchal imagination. 4/n
Hence, #sexualassault stories that make headlines are not those that depict the dehumanisation but rather those that can be presented as "unnatural," "violent," "sadistic," "incestuous," or downright morally disgusting. 5/n
So #sexualassault and #sexualharassment cases remain a moral issue rather than a fundamental violation of women's rights. It plays right into our conscience of moral codes and social norms about women's bodies and their sexual desire and freedom. 6/n
#SexualViolence is not considered "wrong" because a woman's sexual autonomy was crushed but because in a good, civilised society, we follow acceptable, moral standards of sexuality and male entitlement of women's bodies. 7/n
The other question that is pertinent to media reportage of #sexualviolence cases is that which stories get reported and which stories are dismissed? Which perpetrators are held accountable and which ones get to walk free? 8/n…
Moreover, what is our social perception of #sexualviolence? Who do we easily relate to as victims of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape? Are Dalit women victims given the same coverage as uppercaste victims? 9/n…
Are stories of #sexualassault and #sexualviolence of women of colour, LGBTQ people, disabled women, refugees and immigrants adequately covered by the media? Is there equal space and equal access? And most importantly, is media reportage inclusive for all? 10/n
All of these questions I ask tie to a larger question of the female body. Bodies of marginalised, oppressed and minority women, LGBTQ bodies, as well as disabled bodies, are not perceived as bodies worthy enough to be preserved or protected by societies 11/n
Because these bodies are not viewed as bodies that are sexually desired; these are bodies that are at best disposable. Hence, the perception that men only rape for "sexual gratification" -- to satiate their desire for the attractive female body. 12/n
What must be reiterated at all times in media reportage (something we don't see enough of) is that #sexualviolence of any form is always a sociopolitical tool of oppression, domination and control. 13/n
It doesn't happen because of male need for "sexual gratification" or because the world is filled with virile and "horny" men who just want to jump at "attractive" women. But rather from the desire to exercise power, privilege and patriarchal control over female bodies. 14/n
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