CPJ report: Sexual assault is 'the silencing crime' for journalists

Committee to Protect Journalists

In a new report released today, CPJ draws attention to the sexual violence that many journalists have faced while on the job. CPJ Senior Editor Lauren Wolfe spent four months talking to about 50 journalists from the U.S. and abroad for the report. Some women reported being raped, while others -- including men -- said they were groped and sodomized, often while in detention or captivity.

Some journalists interviewed for the report said they felt motivated to talk about what happened to them after hearing Lara Logan go public with her story about being sexually assaulted in Egypt. That's noteworthy, Wolfe said, but it remains extremely difficult for victims to step forward. Some journalists fear that if they do share their story, they'll be told they can no longer cover stories in conflict zones. Others, Wolfe said, think they'll come across as being vulnerable, whiny or weak.

Sexual assault is “the silencing crime,” said Elana Newman, head of research for the Dart Center. “I think it’s an underreported experience probably for both men and women journalists,” Newman said. “I think there’s still a stigma associated with sexual assault. The [journalism] field is incredibly competitive. There are so many difficulties; people are not apt to want to report any additional stressors in the field because of the competitiveness and the stigma related to any kind of assault on the body.”

In conjunction with the report, CPJ issued an addendum to its security guide.

  • Mallary Jean Tenore

    As managing editor of The Poynter Institute’s website, Poynter.org, I report on the media news industry, edit the site’s How To section, and moderate the site's live chats. I also help handle the site's social media efforts, and teach social media sessions on the side.


Related News

Email IconGroup 3Facebook IconLinkedIn IconsearchGroupTwitter IconGroup 2YouTube Icon