During the past few days, there has been discussion, speeches and documentaries displayed at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Mich., that highlight how media — of all types — is creating social justice around the world. In every single media session that I attended, the issue of sexual assault was raised, especially child sexual abuse.
The conference was in no way directly related to ending sexual violence, but across the board, this issue was voiced and given attention. Sessions included:
- media tools for healing;
- media justice;
- delivering justice through birthing rights;
- a documentary about the child welfare system;
- graphic campaigns for social movements;
- duologue on media, movement building and economic justice;
- recording and interviewing; and
- collaborating between groups of Spanish-speaking collectives.
The fact that everyone, including people who were not working in this movement, was addressing the multifaceted problem of sexual violence, is an indication that the general public is hearing the messages. This is a global endemic, and there was a consensus that a world without such violence would be favorable. However, I think there is a disproportionate amount of time dedicated to discussing media problems and wrong-doings (and I acknowledge that they exist) rather than spending resources and energy to discuss solutions, changes and best practices.
As we unite around social justice issues — not only at this conference, but in all spaces that discuss change and transformation — there is a need to address media in a way that provides activists with hands-on, pragmatic tools for opportunities to organize, collaborate and build the movement.