Breaking the cycle: media representations of victim-survivors and child abuse

Beddows, Amy (2019) Breaking the cycle: media representations of victim-survivors and child abuse. Discover Society. pp. 1-4.


Discussions around media representations of sexual violence and abuse have become both more mainstream and more nuanced in recent years. There has been criticism of news media and public commentary which demeans and discredits the experiences of victim-survivors, such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s dismissal of funding for a child abuse enquiry as money "spaffed up a wall", the extensive reporting on the trial of Carl Beech and celebrities warning of a culture of victimhood. Many people look to the media for information on complex social issues - particularly more ‘private’ events such as sexual violence - and too often, onscreen representations fall in line with negative societal stereotypes around abusers and victims. Thankfully, the media can also present more progressive depictions which challenge these so-called rape myths and enable people to make sense of their experiences and the experiences of others (see Kitzinger, 2001).

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