Mona Lisa Dourado, senior journalist, Jornal do Commercio, Pernambuco (Brazil)
As long as there are women being beaten and killed solely for their feminine condition, it is essential to report gender-based violence. We need to generate reaction, we need to be angry, we need to demand political policies for prevention and punishment, we need to consciously confront this epidemic that brutally disrupts the lives of thousands of women in the world each year. In the state of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, 241 women were murdered in 2018, 83 of them victims of femicide. There is no other way to try to stop gender-based violence and the murder of women than to assume it and identify it as a social problem, to point out the foundations on which misogyny is founded and the ways to overcome it. It becomes a matter of survival. The vulnerability belongs to all women. In fact, any of us, even as journalists, can be murdered just for being a woman. It is necessary to understand why so many women are murdered, to search the police for answers on who killed them, to follow up on the completion of each inquiry and the prosecution’s complaints, to charge the defendants’ judgment and the punishment of the crime. It is necessary to tell and report so as not to forget and to try to make the stories not repeated. It is necessary to understand gender violence as a tragedy that transcends urban violence. Reporting on gender violence is an obligation, a necessity, the result of urgent nonconformity. And the need to say is enough: stop killing us, because it is not natural for a woman to die because she wants to be free, because she no longer loves, or because she loves too much. No man has the right to decide about a woman’s life, about a woman’s death. There is no longer room to naturalize the barbarism encouraged by chauvinism and misogyny. Reporting and not silencing is a way to stay alive – real and symbolically.
The gender perspective needs to become a cross-cutting practice in journalism, a daily responsibility that understands social inequality between men and women as an issue to be overcome and therefore needs effective action within newsroom routines. This includes insistently seeking to promote the plurality of voices and worldviews, from defining the guidelines to choosing the sources and characters to be interviewed and the form / language in which the narratives will be presented.