Some victims feel better about the crime when they speak to the media

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According to the Victims of Crime Survey Data report released by Stats SA, more females (71,3) experienced sexual offence than their male (28,7%) counterparts; while more males (72,9%) experienced assault than females (27,1%) during 2014/15. Households who are headed by females (61,4%) were more likely to experience murder when compared to male-headed households(38,6%).

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The media have been addressing these concerns by instituting programs to train journalists on how to cover tragic events and how to interact more sensitively with victims. Carrie Rentschler, an assistant professor in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies, looks at how this trauma training has been integrated into journalism programs, providing journalists with a new victim-identified perspective.

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The results indicate that the most common place of occurrence of assault was in the street (39,4%), followed by home (32,8%), these findings are consistent over the years. The results further indicate that males were more likely to experience assault in the street (45,1%) and females at home (57,8%). Assaults were mostly perpetrated by known people. Individuals aged 15–34 years contributed the highest percentage of assault offenders (64,5%). The motive most cited for assault was ‘anger towards a person and/or their family (45,1%), followed by jealousy(23,5%). Findings further indicate that alcohol and/or drugs influenced assault, regardless of where they occurred. The results from the Victims of Crime Survey show that in over 85% of incidents of assault, a weapon was used and/or resulted in injury to the victim. A knife is the most commonly used weapon during assault incidents, followed by a club. Similarly, when comparing these findings with those of Mortality and causes of death, assault was one of the main causes of unnatural death, particularly amongst young men.

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"This approach stresses a non-confrontational orientation to news reporting that would allow victims to tell their story their own way without confusing, upsetting, or argumentative questions," says Rentschler. These programs include videos, interview scripts, role-playing exercises, and examples from the past, such as Columbine, to teach students a psychological approach.

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Victims' advocacy groups also offer trauma training at journalism conferences where psychologists and stress specialists explain what victims experience as a result of a tragedy. These conferences help both rookies and seasoned journalists who did not have trauma training available to them in the past.

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Rentschler's interest in this training lies in how these programs educate reporters to approach people from a victim's perspective rather than with the objective of informing the public. "I am interested in the ways that news reporting in this training is modelled as a form of therapy," says Rentschler. This new type of training has resulted in a genre of reporting that appears primarily in print news called "profiles of life."

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Profiles of life are commemorative news stories about individual victims who are all linked by the same fatal event. According to Rentschler, "while the stories focus on the individuality of the killed victim, they are published in collective formats that suggest that victims share a collective experience of victimization." Many examples of such profiles emerged after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. This new approach demonstrates the more explicitly victim-identified perspective and the increasing sensitivity of journalists. While profiles of life and trauma training are relatively new developments whose full implications remain to be seen, according to Rentschler, "it is clear that there is a lot at stake in the portrayal of victims in the news. Understanding the news industry's own investment and training in this portrayal might help us understand some of the industrial, economic and moral dimensions of these stakes."

It allows them to get their feelings off their chest

The footage is handed off to the editor. While the editor carefully constructs the episode, marketing is blasting out posts on social media preparing fans for the upcoming release.