Media’s Language: A Look at Language Through a Response Based Practice Lens.
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In the social context that we live in many victims of sexualized violence do not report the violence and/or seek the services that can be provided to them to support them through the horrific violence that they endure at the hands of perpetrators. This is due to the fact that whether or not a victim of violence reports is incredibly complicated as it has major implications and is logically based on her perception of what will happen if she does report. This perception and/or understanding of how others will respond to her is based on both public discourse (the ideas and perceptions of the public in general) and her experience of how other victims were responded to in the past. In the minds of social constructionists, the language that we experience and use plays a key role in our social actions. In order to understand the state of the language, this thesis did a critical analysis of the language used in the media, specifically online news articles. It was found that through using a Response Based Practice lens on five different news sources, all with five articles per (N = 25), obscured language was used 3.99 times more often than clear language. Some of these examples were then discussed which ultimately showed that the state of the language is problematic. The author of this thesis is not naive to the fact that even if we changed our language, many problems in reporting would still exist. Language is an important piece to address as it is a major contributor into public discourse, and therefore into our response to victims of sexualized violence.