A bit of a half-assed apology, but it can help:
Big news! After a massive outcry from more than 40,000 Change.org members — which led to news coverage in the Huffington Post, Village Voice, and even London’s Daily Mail — New York Times public editor Arthur S. Brisbane has issued a strong rebuke of the victim-blaming in a recent article by reporter James McKinley about the gang-rape of an 11-year-old girl and her community’s response.
Brisbane wrote said that the outrage was “understandable” and that the piece conveyed “an impression of concern for the perpetrators and an impression of a provocative victim” that “led many readers to interpret the subtext of the story to be: she had it coming.”
The apology isn’t perfect — it decries the lack of “balance,” as if the paper should be providing equal voice to the concerns of the victims and her alleged attackers. And unfortunately, while the story ran in section “A” of the Times, Brisbane’s commentary showed up only online, not in his weekly column.
But because the Times is so high-profile, this condemnation still sends an important message to reporters all around the U.S. that readers will hold them accountable for insinuating that victims are somehow responsible for playing a role in their own sexual assaults. And you made this happen.
We have much more to do together as we fight for the rights and security of women everywhere, but we’re proving we can make real progress. If there’s a campaign you’d like to start, click here to create your own petition:
Thanks for taking action,
Shelby and the Change.org team