Acts of gender-based violence dehumanize and disempower victims. The immediate trauma is often followed by months or years of compounding forms of harm, such as poor health and political and social marginalization. Participation in decision making is important for many reasons, but crucially allows survivors to access healing, justice and redress.
In a media context, a survivor-centered approach means avoiding reporting practices that might cause harm, while also focusing on solutions and long-term care. When writing about sexual violence, this means explaining the context and the lasting repercussions of violence, such as forced displacement and children born of rape.
Ultimately, from a journalistic point of view, a survivor-centered approach is about recognizing survivors’ agency, as well as relaying the infinite range of their suffering, their experiences, and their perspectives.
- Prioritize the needs and interests of survivors
- Protect the identity and dignity of survivors
- Focus on the purpose of the story
- Learn from survivors’ perceptions of journalistic practices
- Avoid retraumatizing or disempowering practices
- Address survivors’ quest for justice and redress
- Avoid raising or reinforcing false expectations
- Write/produce and edit positive news stories about changing attitudes and efforts to advocate against acts or patterns of violence
- Write/produce and edit follow-up stories that address the long-term impact of gender-based violence on survivors
Best practices show how effective it is to avoid reductionist reporting and to instead portray gender-based violence survivors as whole human beings who can regain control of their lives and even become agents of change. This may entail providing contextual information showing that violence is neither normal nor inescapable, as well as addressing what is being done about it, through positive news or follow-up stories.
The Sahiyo organization, for example, applies this perspective to the coverage of an enduring harmful practice in the Dawoodi Bohra community of India. Its Resource Guide to Best Practice for Sensitive and Effective Reporting on Female Genital Cutting1 shows how to balance accounts of it with information about efforts to abandon it:
“If you focus on how [our] study shows that female genital cutting is prevalent among 80 % of Bohras, the norm then becomes that female genital cutting is prevalent amongst the population and there is nothing a community can do about it,” the Guide says. “Thus, it is important to balance this information with the positive steps made towards eradication. In other words, you want to normalize change.”
The resource guide includes specific suggestions for how to balance female genital cutting stories:
- Interview people who have undergone female genital cutting or from the Dawoodi Bohra community who will publicly state they do not want to practice female genital cutting.
- Find people who have not done it to their daughters and include their stories.
- Highlight the changing attitude toward the practice.
Similarly, the New York-based Solutions Journalism Network seeks “to rebalance the news, so that everyday people are exposed to stories that help them understand problems and challenges, and stories that show potential ways to respond.”2
With regard to gender-based violence, this approach encourages reporting practices that show how survivors can both contribute to and benefit from a focus on solutions. In 2019, Solutions Journalism Network featured a cross-border story, “Three African Countries Providing Solutions in Fight against FGM.” It was published in the pan-African digital media platform This Is Africa.3
The first part of the story, based in Nigeria, is about a documentary, Bleeding Flower, produced to “create social awareness on the need to end this harmful practice ... The movie is beginning to have an impact. Many of [the women] who have been cut are speaking up and joining the movement.”
The Kenya section features Sadia Hussein who, with other female genital mutilation survivors in her community, tried, she said, to “put a stop to the high prevalence of female genital mutilation among Somali Kenyans, the most affected community in Kenya.” They succeeded in making their town “female genital mutilation free for 10 years, after managing to convince the cutters to abandon the practice for farming activities.”
The Senegalese story also describes civil society efforts, led by women, to eradicate female genital mutilation by encouraging alternative projects to help those women who performed female genital mutilation attain financial independence.
1.1.2.Protecting the dignity of trauma survivors
International human rights and humanitarian organizations working with survivors of torture (including gender-based violence) were among the first to warn against harmful approaches that researchers, aid workers and journalists might be using to pursue their documentation and investigative efforts.
Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma published a collection of “Best Practices in Trauma Reporting”4 which acknowledged that “writing about people’s pain and suffering doesn’t come easily to most journalists.” In 2011, it issued specific “Guidelines for Reporting on Sexual Violence,”5 a form of trauma that many journalists feel especially ill-equipped to cover.
Jo Healey, drawing from her own experience as a senior BBC news journalist and media trainer, best described this challenge in a 2019 blog for the Ethical Journalism Network:
“Our current culture is to practice on the grieving public until we reckon we get it about right. We rarely share with each other the skills we acquire and we rarely talk about our experiences. We seem to be the only professionals invited into these homes, with no formal training to be there. Nor is dealing with vulnerable contributors generally part of student journalism training. It is a risky state of play … Training hundreds of journalists has shown me how many can feel vulnerable when faced with spending time interviewing, filming, and writing about people who are suffering. It is also clear that it matters to them that they don’t exacerbate people’s trauma. There cannot be a one-size-fits-all when dealing with people’s reactions and emotions, but there can be good practice which reporters can adapt, so that they can do their job, do it well and do no harm.”6
A growing demand for good practices led to the publication of Healey’s book on “Trauma Reporting: A Journalist’s Guide to Covering Sensitive Stories.”7 One of the contributors was Jina Moore, former Global Women’s Rights reporter and Africa Bureau Chief for BuzzFeed News, and former East Africa Bureau Chief for The New York Times.
Without a clear purpose, trauma journalism becomes sensationalism.
The same year that the Dart Center issued its guidelines, Moore wrote Covering Trauma: A Training Guide8 published by Search for Common Ground. Her premise was that “without a clear purpose, trauma journalism becomes sensationalism … The darker side of human nature means that we are all potential voyeurs; good journalists must avoid that inclination, and help their listeners avoid it as well. One way to do that is to focus on the purpose of the story. Trauma journalism should have a larger purpose than simply recounting the grisly details of violence for curious listeners.”
Moore encouraged journalists, before writing their story, to ask themselves four key questions:
- Does this story illuminate a larger public policy problem?
- Does this story help people understand the plight of trauma survivors?
- Does this story help – with information or with examples – communities recover from trauma?
- Does this story help survivors?
1.1.3.Survivors’ experience and perceptions of media coverage
Survivors’ experiences of media interviews were finally brought into focus in the 2010s. Deutsche Welle, Germany’s news broadcaster, organized a Global Media Forum in 2011 on the theme of human rights reporting. Dart Center Europe panelists talked about how to conduct such reporting without violating the rights of interview subjects. Some of the journalists most aware of this challenge addressed the need to humanize the victims, place them at the forefront of readers’ minds, and also to avoid raising false expectations. As one participant put it: “Journalists have been turning up to post-conflict zones for decades, dangling the prospect that coverage will bring aid or intervention, and nothing has changed.”9
In 2014, Amnesty International released a report on torture and sexual slavery in Islamic State captivity in Iraq. The human rights organization talked to many Yazidi women who had been abducted and raped. In the context of these interviews, it documented the “significant pressure on women and girls who escaped IS captivity to speak to national and international media. Local media fixers and activists have often brought journalists to interview the escapees without first seeking their informed consent. In some cases, relatives have pressured them into giving interviews even when they clearly did not feel comfortable.”10
A few months later, Sherizaan Minwalla, an Iraq-based human rights attorney, with expertise in access to justice for gender-based violence survivors, wrote an article for the Daily Beast: “Has Anyone Here Been Raped by ISIS?”11 This headline – referencing the 1985 book by war correspondent Edward Behr “Anyone Here Been Raped & Speaks English?” – revealed her intent to warn against the eagerness of journalists reporting on atrocities against Yazidi women and girls:
“Journalists persist in finding those escaped victims to ask them about sexual violence they suffered in captivity, despite the fact that they are traumatized and may face retaliation or rejection if such details emerge …” Minwalla wrote. “Journalists are not trained mental health workers and are not equipped to deal with victims who manifest psychological symptoms during an interview … Every time a reporter asks a victim about her trauma, he or she reopens her wounds.”
These observations led to a landmark study conducted by Minwalla and sociologist Johanna E. Foster (Monmouth University, U. S.). While aware of the concerns of some human rights researchers and advocates, they also realized that “missing from these critiques of journalists were the voices of Yazidi women themselves. They noted that previous research “does not address survivors’ perceptions about tactics that journalists may use to gain access to survivors.”
As a result, two main questions framed their own research: “What do Yazidi women, themselves, think and feel about the processes by which women’s stories were gathered and shared” and “how can their perspectives inform the field of journalism in the practice of covering gender violence in conflict zones?”12
188.8.131.52.Ethics and Reporting on Yazidi Survivors of ISIS Captivity
The study authors summarized their findings and recommendations for this handbook.
BY SHERIZAAN MINWALLA AND JOHANNA E. FOSTER, SEPTEMBER 2019
The research we conducted on Yazidi women’s perspectives on journalistic practices after the ISIS genocidal attacks against the Yazidi people in 2014, has important implications for journalists covering sexual violence in conflict. Through 26 face-to-face interviews of displaced Yazidi women, and a content analysis of 75 English-language news articles published in the immediate aftermath of the attacks,13 we found a pattern of widespread breaches of the United Nations Global Protection Cluster Media Guidelines for Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Contexts.14
Overall, we found that 100 % of the 75 media articles analyzed included at least one breach of the UN Guidelines, including 61 % that disclosed details that put survivors and their families at risk for stigmatization, shame, and retaliation by ISIS militants. Emerging from the reporting was a singular narrative of rape that depicted Yazidi survivors as passive victims without agency, and lacked information about a comprehensive description of the women and the genocide. We also found that 85 % of the Yazidi women in the study described incidents that could be defined by the UN Guidelines as evidence of unethical reporting practices, including promises of money or aid, pressure to reveal details of their traumatic experiences, and the disclosure of identity without consent. Of the 26 women interviewed, 85 % reported that journalists’ disclosure of identifying information about survivors, including names and faces, put them and relatives still in ISIS captivity at risk for further violence.
The well-being and rights of survivors of GBV comes before the right of the public to know about atrocities. Taking a survivor-centered approach requires prioritizing the needs and interests of survivors.
As a result of these findings, we recommend the following for journalists cover- ing gender and sexual based violence in conflict:
- Clarify the purpose of the story. Reporting on such a sensitive topic should be for reasons other than simply human interest, because survivors sacrifice emotionally, and in terms of their safety and social status, by giving up their stories.
- Understand the context. When reporting on gender-based violence in a conflict setting journalists should understand the context to ensure they are not putting their sources and relatives at risk. Background information can be sought from people living or working with conflict-affected communities who understand and can advise about political, cultural, and gender dynamics.
- Put survivors first. The well-being and rights of survivors of gender-based violence comes before the right of the public to know about atrocities. Taking a survivor-centered approach requires prioritizing the needs and interests of survivors.
- Learn basic information about trauma. Journalists working with GBV survivors should understand how trauma affects people, and how interviewing someone with post-traumatic stress disorder can retrigger trauma by causing flashbacks and other symptoms. Journalists should adapt their interviewing techniques by taking these considerations into account.
- Treat survivors with dignity and respect. Journalists should use correct terminology when referring to gender-based violence and avoid using the language of the perpetrator, such as “sex slaves,” in published reports. Obtain informed consent. Informed consent requires that journalists get prior permission to do an interview, explain to survivors how their information will be used and discuss their rights during and after an interview, as well as the potential risks to them of publicizing their story. Survivors have at a minimum the right to:
- Refuse an interview without any negative consequences
- Refuse to answer questions
- Take breaks
- End the interview at any time
- Withdraw consent before publication
Journalists should also consider how trauma might impact a survivor’s ability to provide informed consent, particularly when she is not in a safe, stable situation.
Discuss risks of exposing identity. Revealing details that disclose a survivor’s identity can put her and her family at risk of stigma and retaliation. This includes disclosing names, faces even partially covered with scarves, unique markings, such as tattoos, and documents with names. It is important to inform survivors that information published on the internet will always remain public. Journalists are encouraged to be creative about finding images to accompany their reports with survivors’ photographs when there are any risks.
Take precautions with minors. Journalists should avoid interviewing child survivors of sexual violence given their young age and inexperience. If they do interview children, a parent or guardian must be present, and reporters should avoid asking difficult questions about rape and other trauma.
Avoid probing questions about gender-based violence. Asking survivors to discuss unnecessary details is unwarranted, as it puts survivors at risk of re-traumatization without serving their interests primarily.
Go beyond the trauma. Survivors are more than their trauma, and it is important to portray them and their stories more broadly. This can be done by asking women about their lives before the conflict, their current needs, and what they hope for their future – and then telling stories that frame them as full human beings and not simply victims. Also, journalists are encouraged to tell stories of resistance and courage of survivors to portray them as strong individuals and not only passive victims.
Survivors are more than their trauma and it is important to portray them and their sto- ries more broadly..
184.108.40.206.A survivor’s mission
A Yazidi survivor named Nadia Murad shared the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize15 for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war. In her previously published memoir about her captivity and fight against ISIS, she wrote:
“My story, told honestly and matter-of-factly, is the best weapon I have against terrorism, and I plan on using it until those terrorists are put on trial … More than anything else, I want to be the last girl in the world with a story like mine … It never gets easier to tell your story. Each time you speak it, you relive it.” 16
It never gets easier to tell your story. Each time you speak it, you relive it.
Countless journalists wanted to report on her story. The conflict between the urge and the cost of telling it became an important theme of the 2018 documentary film, On Her Shoulders,17 which focuses on her advocacy work as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking. PBS Learning Media created an accompanying lesson plan “Nadia Murad in the Public Eye: Analyzing the Moral Responsibility of the Media.”18 It addressed the question: “At what cost does Murad tell her story, and for whose benefit?”
In the film, Murad mentions some of the most disconcerting interview questions she has faced, but she also concludes by giving examples of those she would prefer to be asked:
- What is the fate of those girls?
- How young are the girls who are going through this pain?
- What is the situation of the refugees who I visit in the camps?
- What is the situation of my people [her fellow Yazidis] in camps in Kurdistan and Sinjar Mountain?
- What must be done so Yazidis can have their rights?
- What must be done so a woman will not be a victim of war?
Murad started her own organization, Nadia’s Initiative, in 2018. Its mission includes advocating for survivors of sexual violence. It has been partnering with the Institute for International Criminal Investigations and the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative of the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in the development of a draft “Global Code of Conduct for the Documentation and Investigation of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence.” Its initial drafters introduced it as “a widely supported code of conduct for reporters, researchers, documenters and investigators that can help achieve greater respect for survivors’ rights and better outcomes for survivors.”
According to the joint launch statement19, the Murad Code, named after Nadia Murad, is meant to promote a survivor-centered approach to reporting and documenting, ensuring that the process is safe, ethical, and effective. The joint project, expected to be completed in 2021, will also include the drafting of a "Survivor’s Charter" to express their wishes on how documenters should engage with them.
220.127.116.11.Learning from survivors: A video journalist’s experience in modeling best practices
Marga Zambrana is an independent producer, video journalist and writer (Barcelona/Istanbul)
BY MARGA ZAMBRANA, MARCH 2020
I had one of the best opportunities ever to work in spring 2017 with survivors of sexual violence perpetrated by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadi terrorists against Yazidi women in northern Iraq.
Three years later, the Yazidi grassroots organization Yazda, together with the support of the NGO Norwegian Peoples’ Aid decided to produce a documentary whose content would be decided by Yazidi survivors, in order to help them regain their dignity and strength.
As a female writer and video journalist covering the Middle East since 2013, I was selected due to my experience interviewing survivors of sexual violence in Asia, Europe, and specifically in the Syrian conflict. Coworkers generously referred me to Norwegian Peoples’ Aid20 as a respectful and ethical filmmaker who would protect the identity, safety and dignity of interviewees. I must say that during these interviews, as a freelancer, I had the luxury of time, contrary to other colleagues working under tight deadlines.
Both NPAid and Yazda members had been working with Yazidis since 2014. During the pre-production process and once I moved to Dohuk, their managers were wary about the way I would approach their clients, in order to avoid re-traumatization during the interviews. I needed to change my mindset as well as a journalist, as I was there not just to explain their horrors, but their heroism. This was an advocacy documentary. The boundaries were set through an ethical agreement called “Client Meeting Request Form” in which basically the interviewer commits to avoid any topic of discussion regarding sexual violence or anything that could re-traumatize the survivor. It was a challenging project.
However, I was lucky enough to have the support of two of the best professionals in the sexual and gender-based violence sector, NPAid Program Manager Barbara Mali and psychologist Eivor Laegreid. The latter accompanied me during the first rounds of group interviews (called Focus Groups Discussions) and, as a therapist, she set the boundaries.
The psychologist and I met with about 40 survivors in three rounds of focus groups, including a separate group of men who had survived mass killings. When meeting with women, we would first explain the goal of the project and made clear that none of them was forced to talk. This approach helped them to relax. Some decided not to talk, others explained how they felt betrayed by local and international journalists who didn’t respect their wishes for anonymity. At some point, the focus group became a sort of group therapy, once some of them unveiled their traumatic memories. They felt free to talk about the topics they wanted to include in their documentary: their strength fighting back against their captors, their resilience and their identity. In the second round of interviews, we showed part of my previous footage interviewing survivors from other conflicts, whose identities where concealed. I also filmed some of the focus group discussions, and showed the footage to the survivors, so they could decide if they felt comfortable with it and regain control of their image.
Finally, we identified those who would be more open to talk about their trauma on camera without being re-traumatized. Many survivors would be prone to say they wanted to talk in order to get justice, but Laegreid helped me to notice through their body language when the survivor was not really ready to talk. When we finally began the filming, we were surprised to find out that at least two survivors, once they were given the opportunity to regain control of what I was filming of them, were enjoying the interview, and it worked as a kind of therapy for them. A 14-year-old who had just been released after two years under ISIS even took my camera and began filming around in the refugee camp, expressing an interest in becoming a camerawoman.
18.104.22.168.A survivor and trauma specialist testimony
Some survivors of sexual violence, in the context of the #MeToo movement, have also come forward to talk about their perceptions of the impact of media coverage. In the United States, one of the first women to speak against former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was survivor Louise Godbold. In August 2019, she published a noteworthy piece about the costs and risks of media attention. The following is excerpted from this article in the Pacific Standard magazine article:21
“One consequence of coming forward about a high-profile abuser is media attention. Often, our interactions with the people who claim to be helping us ‘get our story out there’ have ended up resurfacing feelings of exploitation and powerlessness that are associated with the original trauma.
I don’t believe that most media professionals wake up in the morning wanting to harm someone. They just want to do a good job and would be delighted if they could have some tangible pointers about how to ‘do no harm’ in the process … Too often, I think, we survivors are misled into thinking that a kind reporter or sympathetic producer is a safe person, and then find ourselves retraumatized by our subsequent lack of control in the editing and distribution of the interviews. Not only do survivors suffer a loss of power and control, but we also rarely benefit from the emotional culling of our stories.
No one likes to give up power, and those who have it usually come up with all kinds of reasons not to relinquish it. Reporters and documentarians will argue that survivor input threatens ‘objectivity.’ But if objectivity is the goal, then allow the survivor to comment on the chosen narrative once it becomes clear; if we disagree with how the information is being framed, the disagreement should also appear in the report or documentary. Isn’t offering both sides of the story fundamental to ‘objectivity’?
Ultimately, I would like to see some of the power and control shift to survivors so we can depict ourselves as exactly that: survivors, not mere hand-wringing victims of Weinstein and other predators, which is how the media loves to portray us. We are survivors. We survived.”
22.214.171.124.A photojournalist’s rule: Be honest and transparent
Handbook contributor Alice Driver is an independent journalist based in Mexico City and the author of 'More or Less Dead.'
BY ALICE DRIVER, OCTOBER 2020
Indian photojournalist Smita Sharma contributed to a 2020 National Geographic package that illustrates what radical honesty and transparency look like in action. “Stolen lives: The harrowing story of two girls sold into sexual slavery”22 chronicles the experiences of two underage survivors of sexual violence, who were trafficked in India and Bangladesh. The headline includes accurate, respectful language, avoiding judgmental or inaccurate terms, such as prostitute and sex-worker, which do not apply to minors. Stories that involve sex trafficking often refer to girls as women, which ignores that minors cannot consent to sex. Sharma provides examples of how to undertake a project that centers on the safety and well-being of survivors of violence.
Sharma, who was interviewed for this handbook, started investigating sexual slavery in India in 2015 as a personal project. When National Geographic commissioned a project in 2018, she had cultivated the contacts and built the trust needed to photograph two underage survivors of sexual violence without revealing their identities, or compromising their futures.
“The first and foremost thing is how you approach them and your honesty,” the photojournalist said of working with underage survivors of violence. “If you explain to them why you are there and your ultimate intention, people get it.”
Sharma recognized that building trust among survivors of sexual violence would require significant time – in this case, years. One issue that journalists often face is finding the funding to pursue such long-term projects that require a considerable commitment of time and resources. “I got some resistance,” Sharma said, “because obviously, nobody wants to talk about this to journalists, especially gender-based violence. I continued this for three years.” Ideally, editors at media outlets will recognize that gender-based violence projects often require long-term support to produce more nuanced work.
In Sharma’s case, being honest and transparent with families and survivors of violence required that she protect them from potential shaming and violence that could occur after she left the village. Sharma also talked about how she presented herself to draw less attention: “I don’t carry a lot of gear; I carry basic minimum things. I never carry a camera bag because I don’t want to draw attention.” Journalists and photographers usually work on a story, and once it is published, move on to a different place or subject. However, their responsibility extends beyond the time spent with survivors of violence, and Sharma recognized that.
Journalists must respect how survivors of violence want to discuss their experiences. Photographers, reporters, their editors and colleagues may have certain expectations about what survivors of violence should share, especially if significant time and money have been invested in a project. The pressure to sell articles, make a living, and get “likes” on social media can cause tension for journalists covering gender-based violence. The work may involve educating colleagues that survivors of violence do not owe journalists trauma, violence, or horror. We do not have the right to re-traumatize survivors. There are creative, beautiful, and respectful ways to share stories about violence that acknowledge the power of silence and omission.
There are creative, beautiful, and respectful ways to share stories about violence that acknowledge the power of silence and omission.
One way to ensure that news and in-depth narratives portray the survivors’ experience multidimensionally is to write follow-up stories that offer an opportunity to describe the long-term impact of acts of violence. They can offer a better understanding of the complex and often conflicting emotions, reactions, and choices that inform survivors’ lives in the wake of such abuses. Follow-up stories can also be about resilience, empowerment, and the quest for justice and redress, as well as actions that will benefit other women at risk.
Here are some opportunities, at the local or national level, that journalists can use as news pegs for such stories:
- Prosecution of perpetrators
- New policy or legislative developments
- New research / studies
- Community and advocacy initiatives/campaigns
- Relevant commemorative days (see Chapter 3)
- Anniversaries of gender-based violence- related events/cases
- Examples of impact of previous media stories
As a bonus, following-up reassures the survivor that the journalist respects the time they took to tell their story and that there was a genuine attempt to understand it and connect.
For smaller communities and for some cultures, reciprocity may be an important norm and, as such, maintaining contact in and of itself reinforces the journalists’ standing as members of a community, apart from the article’s news value.
The selected articles below are compelling examples of the importance of following up on the long-term impact on survivors of some of the most severe forms of gender-based violence:
“Rwanda Genocide Revisited: What Happened to the Children of Rape Victims?”
The Telegraph (April 20, 2019)
Taliban rule (Afganistan)
“Don’t leave us now”
Al Jazeera (2019)
Boko Haram kidnappings
“Six Years Ago, Boko Haram Kidnapped 276 Schoolgirls. Where Are They Now?”
National Geographic Magazine (March 2020)
“What Would Make a Woman go Back to Boko Haram? Despair”
The Guardian (Jan. 14, 2019)
“Listening to the stories of Boko Haram’s wives”
Open Democracy (July 17, 2019)
“Victims of Boko Haram feel like strangers when they return home to southern Nigeria”
The Conversation (May 25, 2020)
“Murad, Amal Clooney accuse leaders and UN of failing Yazidis”
Associated Press (Aug. 3, 2020)
The following guides and guidelines have been selected for their emphasis on the dignity, safety, and agency of gender-based violence survivors, as well as for their relevance in a wide range of contexts and situations:
Noticias que salvan vidas: Manual periodistico para el abordaje de la violencia contra la mujeres (News That Saves Lives)
Amnesty International Argentina (2009). Available in Spanish only.
Reporting on Sexual Violence in Conflict
Dart Centre Europe (2021)
Also available in Arabic, French, Spanish and Swahili
Guidelines for Reporting on Violence Against Women
International Federation of Journalists (2013).
Available in English, French, and Spanish.
Media Guidelines for Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Contexts
Global Protection Cluster (2013). GPC is a network of NGOs, international organizations and UN agencies engaged in protection work in humanitarian crises.
Reporting on Gender-Based Violence in Humanitarian Settings: A Journalist’s Handbook
UNFPA Arab States Regional Humanitarian Response Hub (2020). Available in Arabic and English.
Interviewing Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Witness (2013). This guide is part of the international NGO’s how-to video series. Available in Arabic, English, French, Shona, Spanish, Swahili and Zulu.
Trauma Reporting: A Journalist’s Guide to Covering Sensitive Stories
Jo Healey, Editor. Published by Routledge, London and New York (2020)
Endnotes on Chapter I.
- Sahiyo is a non-governmental organization dedicated to ending female genital cutting in Asian communities. Sahiyo (2017). A resource guide to best practice for sensitive and effective reporting on FGC/M. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://sahiyo.com/2017/02/05/sahiyo-launches-special-toolkit-to-help-the-media-report-sensitively-on-female-genital-cutting/
- Egwu, P. (2019, February 15). Nigeria, Kenya and Senegal: Three African Countries providing solutions in fight against FGM. This is Africa. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from
- Kawamoto, K. (2005, January 1). Best practices in trauma reporting. Dart Center. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://dartcenter.org/content/best-practices-in-trauma-reporting-23
- Dart Center (2011). Reporting on Sexual Violence. Retrieved on Sept. 2020, from https://dartcenter.org/sites/default/files/sexual%20violence%20tipsheet_final_27.08.11.pdf
- Healey, Jo (2019, November 6). Do your job, do it well, do no harm. Ethical Journalism network. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://ethicaljournalismnetwork.org/trauma-reporting-journalists-guide-to-sensitive-stories
- Healey, Jo (2020). Trauma Reporting: A journalist’s guide to covering sensitive stories. London and New York: Routledge.
- Dart Center (2011, January 14). Human rights: Reporting without infringing. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://dartcenter.org/content/human-rights-reporting-without-infringing
- Amnesty International (December 2014). Escape from hell: Torture and sexual slavery in Islamic State captivity in Iraq. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://www.amnestyusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/escape_from_hell_-_torture_and_sexual_slavery_in_islamic_state_captivity_in_iraq_mde_140212014_.pdf
- Minwalla, S. (2015, May 18 – Updated 2017, April 14). ‘Has anyone here been raped by Isis?’ Daily Beast. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://www.thedailybeast.com/has-anyone-here-been-raped-by-isis
- Foster, J. & Minwalla, S. (2018, March 1). Voices of Yazidi women: Perceptions of journalistic practices in the reporting on ISIS sexual violence. Women’s Studies International Forum 67 (2018) 53-64. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323491373_Voices_of_Yazidi_women_Perceptions_of_journalistic_practices_in_the_reporting_on_ISIS_sexual_violence
- Minwalla, S, Foster J. & McGrail, S. (2020, March 2). Genocide, rape, and careless disregard: media ethics and the problematic reporting on Yazidi survivors of ISIS captivity. Feminist Media Studies. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14680777.2020.1731699?journalCode=rfms20
- Global Protection Cluster (2014). GBV area of responsibility: Media guidelines for reporting on gender-based violence in humanitarian contexts. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from
- The Nobel Prize (2018, October 5). Announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018. That year, Nadia Murad shared the prize with Dr. Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/peace/2018/press-release/
- Murad, N. (2017). The last girl: My story of captivity, and my fight against the Islamic State. New York: Tim Duggan Books.
- On her shoulders. Documentary Film (Oscilloscope Laboratories) directed by Alexandria Bombach, 2018 (94 minutes). Retrieved from Sept. 13, 2020, from https://www.pbs.org/pov/watch/onhershoulders/
- PBS LearningMedia (2018). Nadia Murad in the public eye: Analyzing the moral responsibility of the media. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from https://www.pbs.org/pov/engage/resources/nadia-murad-public-eye-analyzing-moral-responsibility-media/overview/
- The Murad Code was launched in London on June 19, 2020: www.muradcode.com
- NPA (Norwegian People’s Aid) is an international humanitarian solidarity organization: www.npaid.org
- Godbold, L. (2019, August 1). Do no harm: A media code of conduct for interviewing trauma survivors. Pacific Standard Magazine. Retrieved on Sept. 13, 2020, from
- Bhattacharjee, Y. (2020, September 28). Stolen Lives: The harrowing story of two girls sold into sexual slavery. Photographs by Smita Sharma. National Geographic Magazine. Retrieved on Nov. 20, 2020, from https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/10/stolen-lives-harrowing-story-of-two-girls-sold-into-sexual-slavery-feature/