Two students in the JMSC’s Master of Journalism programme have been awarded an HKU Social Inclusion Activities Grant.
Anjani Trivedi (MJ, 2013) and Olivia Rosenman (MJ, 2013) won the grant, worth HK$26,000, for their proposal to raise public awareness of violence against women in Hong Kong and China.
The proposal consists of two main parts, which the two women are now working to produce: a website and a public forum.
The website will be designed to contain research, interviews, articles, and multimedia reports as well as short documentary films on sexual violence in China, the women said. It will also contain a section that analyzes how sexual violence is reported in the media, and assesses the wider social significance of what is included and excluded from such reports.
The forum, tentatively scheduled for the beginning of the next academic year, will aim to bring together academics, journalists, and social workers to examine the causes and consequences of sexual violence and discuss possible solutions to the problem.
“The goal of the project is to start a healthy dialogue about sexual violence in China,” Rosenman said. “There are thousands of sexual assaults every year, but people aren’t talking about it … because it’s seen as a private or domestic issue.”
The women said sexual violence is an issue that needs to be written about and discussed more accurately in order to promote the changes in social attitudes and government policies that are required to prevent it.
“Sexual violence and assault really get underreported in the media,” Trivedi said. “And when it is reported, it’s looked at from the perspective of who was assaulted, what happened, where did it take place. The question of why it’s happening … the cultural conditions that allow or even encourage violence against women, don’t get looked at at all. That’s what we’re going to do: to look for the reasons.”
Trivedi said that the project was inspired in part by the gang rape last winter of a 23-year old Indian medical student, which she helped cover while an intern at the New York Times New Delhi Bureau. “That experience made me realize what a huge issue this is and that the media and public just aren’t talking about it,” she said.
The Social Inclusion Activities Grant was established by HKU Class of 1984 to support student projects that promote “harmony amongst members of the public” who are divided on the basis of race, gender, religion, or ethnic or cultural origins.