How do we understand sexual and domestic abuse? How can we talk about these issues and find fresh angles in the media together? We think, by working with the media and exploring new ideas for content through social meet-ups. In September, we sat down with the team at BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat to make friends, look at how we could inspire ideas and potentially collaborate on new programming.
In two hours, 14 people talked about sexual violence and domestic abuse, sharing experiences, frustrations and reflections. A group of people with personal experience of sexual assault, rape and domestic abuse, along with experts who work in the sector joined the broadcast journalists for coffee and doughnuts.
Author and Clear Lines Festival co-founder, Winnie M Li facilitated the session. Some of the journalists had experience in interviewing survivors or victims and others were working on pieces about sexual harassment. A number were keen to learn more about how to work with this sector and improve language and terminology. They are all responsible for making content for the radio news programme, 1Xtra and the BBC website, designed to reach a younger population.
We talked about…
Discussions focused on survivors’ experiences of the challenges in the criminal justice system and with police, and how this can add another layer of trauma for the person affected.
The lack of coverage of male experiences of sexual violence and how we don’t hear enough from men who have survived this trauma.
Families affected and the aftermath following the event for the family, as well as the survivor. How to combat victim-blaming in the language we use when addressing sexual assault or rape. The lack of experiences heard from people of colour, how to reach these communities as well as integrate their stories in portrayals in the media.
“Absoultely brilliant interaction. Really great teamwork and gave me the idea again about why it’s so important to keep engaged in a community as its the opposite of abuse, which is about isolation.” Duncan Craig, CEO of Survivors Manchester, following an interaction with BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat
The time constraints journalists can face when stories break (sometimes less than 4 hours to get a breaking news story published) and trying to make the report accurate and reach the audience; in Newsbeat’s case the younger population. It can be hard to get it right, a sentiment shared by the group. The importance of collaboration between charities in the sector and the media – asking “how can we collaborate and do this story together in a way that works for us both?”
We only skimmed the surface but got the group thinking about these issues in a more nuanced way. There was a great atmosphere in the room.
Afterwards, the journalists said they valued the open and honest interaction and were keen to develop long-term relationships with the people they met. Many commented on how nice it was to chat with someone who understands these issues, but also how enjoyable it was to meet a journalist in an informal, friendly setting. Several were keen to pitch ideas and look at new content together.
Lindsay Brown’s piece on groping and sexual harassment in clubs and bars went out on BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire programme and Newsbeat, following our meeting. She told us her understanding of sexual and domestic abuse had improved a lot and the most useful thing about the interaction was:
“Hearing from different experiences – especially male and black. Also use of language.”
— Winnie M Li (@winniemli) September 19, 2017
Other interactions between Angles and the media in 2017 have taken place with BBC Two’s Victoria Derbyshire programme, Metro, Evening Standard, The Independent and The Observer. Read our Testimonials from participants to find out about their experiences.