The media may unknowingly induce some people to justify cases of violence against women which appear in the press, according to a research work carried out in the department of Social Psychology of the University of Granada.
The researchers claimed that the media often looked for the assumed "reasons or causes" that provoked the crime, "which leads people to look for a reason for a fact that should be unjustifiable in any case".
Researchers Carmen Herrera and Francisca Exposito said that the treatment given by certain media to such crimes "is extremely dangerous, and gives rise to erroneous conceptions of one of the most serious problems of present world".
Working with a sample of 300 students of different faculties of the University of Granada, with an average age of 28 years old, the scientists aimed to confirm the influence of the news related violence against women on the social perception of this crime.
The participants were presented with several news articles published in national newspapers related to violence against women.
The researchers divided the sample into three groups according to the degree of manipulation of the news.
In the first case, the aggressor's violence was justified ("he was drunk", "he was a violent person"); in the second case, they provided information related to the victim ("the aggressor had asked her to marry him and she refused") and, finally, they presented the same news in a completely objective way.
On the basis of the results, the researchers said that in the treatment of news related to violence against women, they had found frequently "justifications or reasons" (alcohol, jealousy, arguments, situations of prolonged unemployment, etc) "presented by the media to the audience as possible causes of the described situation".
The researchers said that with this work, "they do not intend to point to the media as responsible for the increase of cases of violence against women."
They, however, think that "the media should be more rigorous when it comes to tell the news related to this kind of violence".
The results of this work will be published in the next issue of the journal Anuario de Psicologma Jurmdica.