In 2014 I was invited to join an art group as part of an awareness campaign for Domestic Abuse. The art project was presented at SAFE’s AGM during 16 Days of Action. I was working full time so could not attend all the sessions but was determined to create something that would raise awareness of the 104 women murdered by partners, ex- partners or family members in the UK.
I had the idea of a tree with a little star hanging on the tree with the victims name, age and a little bit about them. I hadn’t realised how difficult it would be to find something about them, news articles didn’t really give any information about the person who had died, more about the person who had committed the crime. It was almost as if they were ‘invisible’ or in some cases appeared to blame from their actions leading up to the murder. I became shocked by the victim blaming language used, but something else became all to apparent by the time I was creating my 86th star. None of the reports used the words domestic violence or domestic abuse. I will say that again incase you did not believe it the first time. None of the reports on these murders used the words domestic violence or domestic abuse.
When you see a tree with 104 gold shining star on it, then realise each one symbolised a life lost, it hits you hard. This last year 157 women were lost to domestic violence murder. The statistics are rising.
It is our belief that if the media reported these cases responsibly, as they now do suicide, changes will start to occur. By naming domestic violence and abuse you help others recognise their own situations or those of someone they care about. By quoting statistics, you help the general public become aware of the huge issue domestic violence and abuse is to society. By putting the helpline on the reporting, you enable someone to reach out for help and support they may never have realised was there.
If you are a journalist and would like to help us make a difference please get in touch. If you are someone reading an article and noticing good or bad reporting, please speak out on social media, or pass it to us and we will share it. Please like and share our facebook & twitter accounts regarding media reporting.
Lets do things differently and make a difference. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Claire Moore who continually shares articles twitter.com/onein4
by Jeanette Brown