DV refers to violence within a home, including child abuse, elder abuse, and IPV; IPV is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and controlling behaviours by an intimate partner" (2012, p. 1; see also Stark, 2007). Given that IPV falls under the umbrella of domestic violence, we use both terms throughout this Commentary. 2 The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (2020) uses the term "'survivor' to refer to someone who has gone through the recovery process" (para. 3). We use the term victim to refer to a woman who is being or has recently been victimized by a current or former partner (perpetrator).
Prior research suggests the media depict White female victims more sympathetically than their minority counterparts, yet no researcher has yet examined this proposition at the multivariate level. Moreover, prior research on media portrayals generally include White versus non-White or White versus Black comparisons, but no researcher has yet compared media accounts of White, Black, and Latina female victims. Based on critical race feminism, we expected news coverage of White, Black, and Latina victims to vary in key ways. We examined narratives at the bivariate and multivariate levels, and we contextualized findings with story excerpts. Stories about White female victims were more likely to contain sympathetic themes—such as themes of religiosity and reported media attention—and to result in overall sympathetic narratives compared to stories about minority victims, whereas overall narratives about Latina and Black female victims were often unsympathetic. Our findings align with the “ideal victim” stereotype and may help explain the differential treatment of White and minority female victims by the criminal justice system.
There is a large body of literature examining the media portrayals of white females as both victims and offenders in crime news, but very little is known about how minority females—including Black, Latina, Middle Eastern, Native American, and Asian women and girls—are portrayed in these roles. In this literature review, I discuss general stereotypes surrounding women of color and their depictions within crime news stories as both victims and offenders. An examination of crime news media portrayals of minority females reveals that outdated and harmful stereotypes provide media personnel frames with which to write their stories. The negative portrayals of minority women and girls—as both victims and offenders—serve to reinforce racist beliefs and affect how consumers view political issues.
In this directed qualitative content analysis of four season-long true crime podcasts, the researcher examined how different types of intimate partner violence (IPV) were portrayed. Across the podcasts, controlling behaviors, emotional abuse, and coercive control were commonly depicted. Physical violence was not the most common form of abuse depicted, but it was presented in sensationalistic ways—with a pointed focus on strangulation and bruising. Overall, the podcasts provided a much more realistic portrayal of IPV at the individual level than traditional news sources, yet did not go far enough in describing the societal conditions that permit abuse.
The reality of domestic violence does not disappear when people enter the digital world, as abusers may use technology to stalk, exploit, and control their victims. In this chapter, we discuss three unique types of technological abuse: (1) financial abuse via banking websites and apps; (2) abuse via smart home devices (i.e., "Internet of Things" abuse); and (3) stalking via geolocation or GPS. We also argue pregnancy and wellness apps provide an opportunity for meaningful intervention for pregnant victims of domestic violence.While there is no way to ensure users' safety in all situations, we argue thoughtful considerations while designing and building digital products can result in meaningful contributions to victims' safety. This chapter concludes with PenzeyMoog's (2020) "Framework for Inclusive Safety," which is a roadmap for building technology that increases the safety of domestic violence survivors. This framework includes three key points: (1) the importance of educating technologists about domestic violence; (2) the importance of identifying possible abuse situations and designing against them; and (3) identifying user interactions that might signal abuse and offering safe interventions.
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