Crime Reports Should Be Careful With Their Use of Labels - iMediaEthics

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Sonia Ossorio. (Credit: YouTube, MyHealthMattersNow)

The executive director of the National Organization for Women, Sonia Ossorio, wrote in late July for Editor & Publisher on the importance of careful reporting and labels on crime victims.

Specifically, Ossorio criticized the use of the words “hooker” and “prostitute” as the words devalue the status of the person as a victim.

“In headlines, in first references, and in almost all other references, women killed at the hands of men who pay them for sex are turned into one-dimensional characters rather than the living, breathing, struggling women that they were. Why are the women prostitutes first, rather than victims?”

Ossorio questioned if media outlets would refer to a “corrupt businessman” as a “thief” as quickly as media outlets have replaced women victims who also are prostitutes with the word “prostitute” or “hooker.”

Ossorio argued that media outlets can report on crimes involving women who are prostitutes “without each woman being called a hooker or prostitute on every reference.” Read Ossorio’s report here.

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Crime Reports Should Be Careful With Their Use of Labels

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