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Thursday, 15 Dec 2016 11:17 EATrosemukonyo@yahoo.com
The media has been challenged to up its game in reporting matters of gender based violence (GBV). Kenya Women and Children Wellness Centre program manager, Michael Gaitho, said journalists have a critical role to play in safeguarding dignity of survivors of gender based violence. “The mass media players must exercise restraint and where possible avoid reporting details that could put the survivor at further risk,” Mr Gaitho told a stakeholders workshop organized recently by Africa Unite Kenya in a Machakos hotel.
He said there was need to pay attention to interview location of GBV survivors and in some cases keep the survivor’s identity concealed. The sentiments were echoed by Africa Gender and Media Initiative Programme manager, Gladys Kiio, who asked the media to be discreet when using images or footage and pictures and avoid identifiable information. “Present the subject in a way that upholds their dignity,” Ms Kioo said.
In cases that were complicated to handle, the media was asked to consult gender based violence experts who are familiar with the context. “Media reports facilitates advocacy with duty bearers and communities to ensure protection of the affected,” Ms Kioo said. She explained that some cases of GBV were not handled appropriately in terms of the judgmental language used during the interviews and assessment by the police once a survivor reported.
LVCT representative Magdalene Ndunge said most GBV cases went unhandled because the survivors did not take immediate action by reporting in good time. This hindered the rescue process in case of a rape case. “The Post Exposure Programme (PEP) should be given to the survivors within 72 hours after exposure,” said Ms Ndunge, who asked the survivors of GBV to ensure they access healthcare for medical and psychological support.
Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.