Victim blaming, gratuitous images, myths and stereotypes: the media doesn’t always have the best reputation for reporting violence against women. To help address this, on November 12th the Scottish Parliament played host to the inaugural Write to End Violence Against Women Awards. Co-organised by women’s sector organisations, Zero Tolerance, Rape Crisis Scotland, Scottish Women’s Aid, White Ribbon Scotland and the National Union of Journalists, the awards were designed to celebrate and recognise quality violence against women journalism in Scotland.
Award organiser Liz Ely from Zero Tolerance says: “Journalists, editors and other media professionals have the choice to report truthfully and aid public understanding of violence against women, or to fall back on stereotypes and sensationalism. We launched the ‘Write to End Violence Against Women Awards’ to celebrate writers who make that choice, and whose work contributes to shaping public attitudes for the better.”
Nominations took place over the summer with each category: ‘Best Article’, ‘Best Student Article’ and ‘Best Blog’, being shortlisted to five nominations each with the eventual winners being announced at the Parliamentary event last night. The award was open to journalists and writers whose work is published in a Scottish based publication.
The ultimate prize ‘Best Article’ was won by Anni Donaldson for her piece ‘Why was the sheriff in the Walker case so puzzled?’ originally featured in The Scottish Review. Award judge and broadcaster Lesley Riddoch commented on the winning article saying: “This article delves beyond the headlines to examine old myths that help perpetuate violence against women.”
Taking home first place in the Blog category was Eve Livingston with her article ‘One Billion Rising while another one falls: Media treatment of Reeva Steenkamp , which considered the role of the media in reporting the deaths of prominent women.
In the student category Lauren Wilks took first place with her powerful piece Forgotten Brides: Life After Forced Marriage, which originally featured in Edinburgh University Newspaper ‘The Student’.
A wooden spoon award was also awarded (and posted) to The Sun newspaper for its front cover image and headline following the murder of Reeva Steenkamp in February, which one of the judging panel describes as, “an example of sexualised violence which trivialises the crime and objectifies the victim.” Notes to Editor