The hidden sexual abuse of female war correspondents

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Kelly, Louise
Issue Date
BA (Hons) in Journalism
Dublin Business School
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The possibility of sexual abuse, and the apparent reticence in reporting this abuse is a very real concern for female war correspondents. As the majority of those abused opt to keep the incident under wraps rather than highlight and report the issue, the source material available is dearth. This scarcity of literature does not represent the invalidity of the issue, but rather highlights the need for further examination, discussion and analysis of the subject. This Final Year Project argues that this abuse does exist, and aims to provide an understanding of the psychology and reasoning behind the associated secrecy. Using a qualitative method, the basis of argument for the Final Year Project relies for the most part on first hand interviews with former and current war correspondents, and journalists, both male and female, in addition to case studies and the existing limited source material. My central argument is that sexual abuse of female war correspondents exists and is hidden. The framework of this psychology is articulated in chapter 1, where this mindset of suppression is established and maintained in the female journalist through social conditioning and newsroom culture. Divisions of culture in the field are explored in chapter 2, and several scenarios and case studies of instances of sexual abuse are highlighted and analysed. The final chapter focusses on stress disorders after assault, how these correspondents and their peers react; revealing the complexity of issues affiliated with this active concealment. The study concludes with a recommendation to re-examine this area forensically with global reach,provide appropriate training before covering an area of conflict and confidential counselling after experiencing trauma and assault, and to re-address the structure of trust and discourse in the newsroom regarding the subject of sexual abuse.