Me Too: Evaluation of Sexual Assault and Abuse

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This analyzes how much the New York Times coverage of #MeToo movement contains a diverse background of survivors of sexual assault and harassment. Press coverage of causes influences the public’s understanding of social issues and representing communities. A case, study tracks historical accounts of sexual harassment and assault in a high-profile news organization. Data collected in The New York Times analysis of victim identification and measurement of inclusiveness in 2017 over a two-month period. Findings suggest that in #MeToo related stories are the most famous victims, white women in the media or politics sectors. The study argues that minority representation is lacking in the New York Times coverage. Nonetheless, often framing analyzes are small, requiring careful examination of findings (Matthes, 2009). This study is no exception, as the population of the sample is only a portion of what could be studied.

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In 2006, Tarana Burke started a movement to help young women of color who had become victims of sexual assault (hereafter referred to as survivors to protect their integrity). Burke dubbed the ‘Me Too’ movement to continue the healing process for survivors to phase these women into not being alone in their experiences (Garcia, 2017). In October 2017, the movement gained a national reputation on social media. Actress Alyssa Milano urged every victim on Twitter using the hashtag ‘#MeToo’ to demonstrate how common sexual harassment and assault had become (Ohlheiser, 2017).

News media outlets receive about 40 percent of recorded assaults. Of this 40%, most individuals and cases are unusual or high-profile (Pennington, 2016). This limited reporting spreads seven real misunderstandings of abuse, ultimately promoting rape culture (Franiuk, 2008). Rape culture is characterized as an atmosphere for accusing victims of assault and male sexual harassment (WAVAW, 2018). Articles that delegitimize rape, often in favor of the accused, can affect the reputation of the victim’s public and legal view. Of the reported cases of sexual assault, only 3% of rapists are sentenced to imprisonment.

Articles chosen for review were published in The New York Times during the period from 1 October 2017 to 30 November 2017. Thanks to the immense attention given to social media by the # MeToo hashtag, this two-month timeframe was selected for research. Fifteen articles met the search criteria. The New York Times was chosen for its global readership and numerous risks under the # MeToo movement. Because the New York Times news daily has consistently set the standard, non-ethical coverage could have a major impact across news organizations (Pennington, 2016).

From a study of 15 studies, 5 (33.3%) described sexual assault as a prevalent issue in the entertainment industry, 3 (20%) centered on the global campaign, 2 (13.3%) addressed a specific case in higher education, and 2 (13.3%) reported safety measures to prevent sexual assault. The remaining articles (20%) were equally divided, concentrating on sexual assault as an issue in politics, the restaurant industry, and the advertising industry. A total of 182 outlets were divided equally, with 48.9% being female and 47.8% being male. Ethnic figures, however, have not been distributed equally. Caucasian sources make up 70.3% of the overall category, the most widely used in news stories. Many repressions included 7.1% of African Americans, 3.9% of the Middle East, 2.8% of Latino, and 1.1% of Asian sales. At 14.8 million, the uncounted sources have not been disclosed.

There is a negative correlation between high-profile sexual assault cases and adequate coverage of the media. The Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists urges journalists to mitigate reporting damage (Professional Reporters Society, 2014). Despite this policy, previous research suggests that reporters do not follow the code when it comes to sexual assault (Franiuk, 2008). News organizations have the power to assist or hinder cultural integration and representation. ‘Media messages can act as educators of values, philosophies, and principles… they can provide world representations to interpret whether or not the creators are aware of this intention’ (Gamson, 1992). Day finalists must be mindful of how they view the specifics when reporting news of sexual assault and be careful not to pay tribute to the culture of rape. By upholding the Code of Ethics, journalists should make an effort to mitigate harm and provide a safe space for victims to share their stories. Journalists can also increase race replication in news media reporting by providing accurate representation and meaning (Entman & c Rojecki, 2010). It’s not enough just to denounce bias as an effort to be impartial; journalists also need to concentrate on accuracy and comprehension of the audience. Reporters provide an enhanced view of relevant social problems to the public by adding additional meaning beyond the incident in question (Ant-man 8c Rojecki, 2010).

To evaluate how sexual assault is reported by national news media entities, further research is needed. It is impossible to improve the reporting of sexual assault by drawing on what has already been written. This study adds to previous research on the representation of people of color by news media outlets, identifying white individuals in The New York Times # MeToo reporting as the most portrayed category. It feels comfortable to have victims come forward. In reporting reports of sexual assault, the New York Times and news organizations of all sizes should follow the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists. Also, news outlets should take note of who is represented as an effort to minimize harm in stories. Being aware of whose voices in sexual assault stories are not present can help to ensure accuracy. All reporters and viewers have the influence in which stories are told to implement change. Encouraging critical knowledge among viewers and news media organizations will contribute to research and ongoing effort to ensure equal representation. Such self-awareness creates the potential between producers and consumers of coverage to improve confidence and communication.

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