You Need to Read This: Awesome Toolkit on How To Report on Sexual Assault


The Toronto-based Femifesto collective, a Toronto-based, grassroots feminist collective that works to shift rape culture to consent culture, has put together Reporting on Sexual Assault: A Toolkit for Canadian Media.

**Update – December 2, 2015** For the most recent toolkit visit femifesto’s website –!

reporting on sexual assault

Honestly, you need to read this!

You need to read this if:

  • you are a journalist who might ever cover the issue of sexual assault
  • you have an interest in how sexual assault is covered in Canada
  • you want to learn more about rape culture
  • you want to learn more about  survivors and accessible language
  • you are interested in changing how the sexual assault is talked about
  • you want to end sexual violence

The toolkit covers a really lot of really important information like:

  • what is rape culture
  • the framework of sexual assault in Canada
  • what an intersectional approach to reporting on sexual assault looks like
  • what is missing from Canadian sexual assault coverage
  • up to date Canadian statistics

There’s a really handy checklist for folks who are reporting on sexual assault with awesome ideas like:

Does the story use language that places the accountability for rape or other forms of sexual assault with the perpetrator (i.e.“He raped her” instead of “her rape” or “she was/got raped”)?

The toolkit also has really indepth tips on interviewing survivors:

NO MEANS NO: Respect the right of survivors to choose how and when they will tell their story. Provide questions well in advance of the interview. If a survivor shares that they are uncomfortable with a question, don’t ask it or probe for more information.
There’s also an incredible number of case studies that pull apart what can go wrong in sexual assault reporting and how the reporting could have been more respectful to survivors of sexual assault.
You can be a part of the project by giving them feedback in this survey, by sharing the toolkit with journalists and friends and by being a part of the conversation online – Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.
They even have sample posts that you can use!
— erin



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