A Throw-away Ending to Each News Story
Dear Engaged Bystander: It seems that EVERY news story ends with a similar refrain: nothing is safe so women and children should protect themselves... The message seems to be designed to keep us all immobized with fear and the knowledge that "it" will happen at any time and especially when you least expect it.
I just read the story of a young woman who was wrapping a gift for her mother in the car when a man came up to the window with a gun and kidnapped her. He drove to an ATM for her to withdraw money and then took her to his apartment and raped her. At the next bank, she was able to get away and have the bank manager call for help. Within this incredible story of courage (the 19 year old woman) and kindness (the bank manager), the news story ends with this quote:
"...even when the sun is up, women should never let their guard down."
What would I want at the end of each article?
Ideally, I would want the story to end with quote from the bank which says that their local business cares deeply about safety and will do everything they can to help this woman and any woman who needs help. Ideally, I would want the news station to have a resource list of where people can call for help. Ideally, I would want a statement from the woman who told people how she was able to get away and how she was able to get the help she needed. Ideally, I would want the perpetrator to apologize and take full responsibilty for what he did.
I rarely see these endings to a news story and frankly, that needs to be our job to help create a different closure to these horrible stories of sexual assault. I know I have my resource list handy for that next media call.