Over the past few years, sexual abuse, rape and sexual exploitation have dominated the media. Whether on TV, film, newspapers, radio, news, social media, there is no argument that the silence isn’t being broken. Here at Survivors Manchester, we think its a great thing and we have contributed substantially to the media input but we are also acutely aware how triggering all this can be for survivors.
Since 2016, we have been involved with an amazing bunch of survivors in a small project called Angles which has been developed and is run by On Road Media. Angles is a project that brings media influencers together with people with lived experience of sexual violence and domestic abuse, and/or who work in the sector, promoting new content and a better understanding of the issues. Angles has facilitated spaces for journalists, producers and media folk to meet with survivors to hear of how reporting can help and also hinder the process of disclosure and healing from abuse, and hear of the pressures media have to report.
The amazing folk at Angles have written an wonderfully helpful blog on ‘How to Handle Breaking News Stories of Sexual Assault and Harrassment’ which we think every survivor should read as it includes tips on how to keep oneself safe in these media frenzy storms. We have reproduced a section of the blog here on handling the news:
- Accept that we can’t choose the timing when a story breaks.
- Be aware that one might think that related news stories are ‘safe’ to read, but they could be triggering or challenging too.
- Look for the growing counterpoint or alternative media being created in response.
- Ask yourself – is my energy best placed here? Could I do something else that will have an impact but won’t drain me?
- React publicly in a neutral way – raising awareness of the issues, but not leading to the possibility of being criticised or questioned online.
- See what the environment is like – read the articles created in response to judge what the public mood is like.
- Knowing when to ignore or not engage in the conversations going on.
- Look for your community that isn’t online – have a cup of tea with a friend, arrange a phone call, talk with family. Be aware that some conversations are held better offline.
These are a great list of things to remember that may help survivors with engaging in discussion on social media whilst also keeping safe.
Check out the Angles website here.