RLCS, Revista Latina de Comunicacion Social
Revista Latina

DOI, Digital Objetc Identifier 10.4185/RLCS-2016-1127en27en | ISSN 1138 - 5820 | RLCS # 71 | 2016 | Audio-visual explanation of the author |

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How to cite this article in bibliograhies / References

I Postigo Gómez, T Vera Balanza, A Cortés González (2016): “Interpretation of representations of macho violence in television news programmes”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 71, pp. 912 to 939.
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2016-1127en

Interpretation of representations of macho violence in television news programmes

Inmaculada Postigo Gómez [CV]  [ ORCID] Professor and researcher. Universidad de Málaga (Spain) ipg@uma.es

Teresa Vera Balanza [CV] [ ORCID] Professor and researcher. Universidad de Málaga  (Spain) - mvb@uma.es

Alfonso Cortés González [CV] [ ORCID] [ GS] Professor and researcher. Universidad de Málaga  (Spain) - cortes@uma.es

The media play a key role in the perpetuation of hegemonic social roles, as well as in the configuration of the vital scenario in which we interact. This article examines how citizens interpret the information treatment of gender-based violence, and the social construction of this scourge which, far from diminishing, continues to grow despite the actions performed by various institutions and organisations.

Information treatment, gender-based violence, feminism, television, equality.

1. Introduction. 1.1. Objectives. 1.2. Theoretical framework. 1.2.1. Definition of violence. 1.2.2. Types of gender-based violence. 1.2.3. Gender-based violence in the Spanish media. 2. Methods. 3. Results. 3.1. The voices. 3.1.1. Gilena’s men’s focus group. 3.1.2. Gilena’s women’s focus group. 3.1.3. Chiclana’s men’s focus group. 3.1.4. Chiclana’s women’s focus group. 3.1.5. Málaga’s men’s focus group. 3.1.6. Málaga’s women’s focus group. 3.2. Discourses and silences. 4. Conclusions. 5. Notes. 6. References.

Translation by CA Martínez-Arcos
(PhD in Communication from the University of London)

“The media will promote the protection and safeguard of the equality between men and women, avoiding any discrimination among them. The dissemination of information relating to violence against women will ensure, with the corresponding information objectivity, the defence of human rights, freedom and dignity of women victims of violence and their children. In particular, special attention shall be paid to the graphic treatment of information“ [1]

 [ Research ] [ Funded ] 
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1. Introduction

Historically and to this day, women still face conditions of inequality in relation to men. We live in a patriarchal and androcentric system in which the conception of what is generically human is identified with masculinity, with males holding unlawfully the symbolic and material powers, and with women and femininity placed in the sexed variant of humanity. The demands of women to stop being considered the otherness of what is human and therefore to modify the patriarchal social order, provokes the resistance of men as a social group, both individually and collectively, often resulting in the exercise of violence against women by men.

Several studies carried out in the last two decades, including Sau (1996), Lagarde (1997), Barberá (1998), the Spanish Instituto de la Mujer (2000) and Varela (2012), agree that the behaviours of people build social roles, and that this is usually built around prejudice and stereotypes, based on which the media’s discourse, even if in an unintentional way, can contribute to their social perpetuation and reproduction.

 1.1. Objectives

On the basis of the fundamental objective of our work, which is to provide conclusions on the news treatment of gender-based violence in Andalusian public television, addressing how these representations are received, this work will focus on the following two specific objectives:

  • Establish the critical interpretation of citizens about certain elements of the news discourse on violence against women on television.

  • Evaluate the degree of gender bias in the reception of these messages.

1.2. Theoretical framework
1.2.1. Definition of violence

Before analysing the news treatment of violence in the media, it is necessary to address the problem of what we mean by gender-based violence, which is a term with different definitions.

To this end, it is essential to take into account the scope that we give to the concept. From a restricted viewpoint, violence is, sometimes, only understood as acts of physical aggression between individuals. In this line, the term will be defined as “the intentional use of physical force against an individual, with the purpose of hurting, abusing, stealing, humiliating, dominating, insulting, torturing, destroying or killing” (Rojas Marcos, 1995).

But this narrow definition raises at least two problems. The first one is that it leaves out other types of coercion that are less visible but no less serious (symbolic violence and psychological violence). The second problem has to do with the focus of the definition on individual cases and in isolation, not looking at the issue of gender-based violence as a social and global problem.

To overcome these problems, different authors propose broader concepts:

Michel Maffesoli when making reference to totalitarian violence (1982); Slavoj Zizek when talking about objective violence, which can be generated not only by physical strength but also by symbolic violence and systemic violence (Zizek, 2010); Susan George, who highlights violence as an impossibility to achieve basic needs (in Saimi, cited by Tortosa, 1994); Johan Galtung, who speaks of the presence of violence when “humans are influenced so that their emotional, somatic and mental relations are below their potential achievements” (1995: 314-315).

In opposition to the restricted definition, such an extensive view does not allow us to focus on those important and notable aspects and which we must emphasise when talking about violence against women.

For this task we can adopt the classification established by Galtung (1998), whose proposal also introduces the need to observe the greater or lesser visibility of violence.

The author distinguishes three types of violence: direct, structural and cultural.

Direct violence is the physical or verbal act performed to exercise control, and it usually occurs in asymmetric relationships. It encompasses different demonstrations, although the most visible is the one that leaves physical consequences, and is away from the established social norms. It can be exercised by individuals, groups or states, and on the same line the receiver can be any of them.

Structural violence is generated within the social system and paradoxically acts as a stabilising element that ensures its maintenance. It may come from the personality of each individual (internal) or from society as a whole (external):

“Structural violence is subdivided into internal and external. The first one arises from the structure of personality. The second one comes from the social structure itself, either between human beings or societies. The two main forms of structural external violence, based on politics and the economy, are: repression and exploitation. Cases of structural violence are those in which the system causes hunger, misery, disease and even death to the population. Examples are those systems whose states or countries do not satisfy the basic needs of their people” (Galtung, 1998: 15).

Cultural violence is reproduced primarily in the symbolic realm. It has to do with religious beliefs, cultural productions, traditions, languages, etc. and its objective is the justification and legitimation of structural violence (both internal and external) to make such violence appear as normalised actions.

Throughout this cycle, often, the direct and therefore most visible type of violence is related to the previous exercise of structural violence, whose justification also derives from cultural violence. In that vein, in order to eradicate direct violence, we must attack the other two types of violence.

Currently, the violence that is exercised as a result of the patriarchal culture receives different names. The choice between one or another term is not trivial, since the discrepancies reflect differences in the way in which the phenomenon is understood in all its complexity. What are the causes? Who are responsible for it? What type of violence is exercised? What solutions are proposed? These are guidelines that may be patent in the simple choice of a one word or another when it comes to naming these actions since they particularly highlight any of these aspects.

“Masculine violence” (violencia masculine): proposes that the generic construction of masculinity is the sole responsible of the exercise of this violence, leaving out other more complex aspects from which these behaviours also derive and which also need to be examined.

“Violence against women”: while it is a term proposed by different theories, its use puts the spotlight on the receiver of the aggression, but leaves out the reasons, so that the concept could encompass any type of violence suffered by females, and at the same time would leave out violence against children in some cases, and which are the result of the consideration of women and children as objects under the ownership of the male subject, all of this derived of the patriarchal culture.

“Sexist violence”: there are authors like Meyers who advocate for the use of this term:

“This term underscores the institutional and social nature of this violence, placing it within the context of misogyny, patriarchy and male supremacy. It acknowledges that the violence is, in fact, sexist, that it assumes women are subordinate to men and acts on that assumption” (1997).

However, its use may be confused when it is related to the term “sexual violence” which has another meaning and refers to the sexual component of the act of aggression (violation, abuse, etc.)

“Domestic or intra-family violence”: it makes special emphasis in the space where it is exercised and the type of relationship between the subjects, and confines it to the private sphere. This term refers to acts of which not only women or female partners are victims (although they are in most cases), but it also includes aggressions from parents to children. The problem of this definition derives from the fact that by locating the cause of the problem in the family or home, we relegate its solution to the private sphere, making invisible both the perpetrator and the victim and ignoring the fact that it is a social problem. Thus, it merges the space where the attacks take place with its origin, considering that the abuse against women is the result of a private environment where there may be conflicts that lead to violent acts. Violence becomes then an intimate problem among adults in which responsibility for its eradication is placed on the affected subjects and not on society, which does not have to overcome this barrier. In addition, and as a result, the use of the adjective “domestic” can suggest connotations about the problem as something trivial or insignificant.

“Gender-based violence”: in 2004 Spain passed the Organic Law 1/2004, of 28 December, on Integrated Protection Measures against Gender-based Violence (Medidas de Protección Integral contra la Violencia de Género), so we could say that this was the year when the use of this phrase spread normatively to refer this type of violence. However, despite this, its adoption has caused and continues to cause controversy. It is considered by some authors as an incorrect translation of the English term “gender violence”, which was coined by English-speaking feminists in the 1960s. Detractors of the term argue that in Spanish gender is defined and refers exclusively to a grammatical class that differentiates three types of words: masculine, feminine and neutral. The Royal Spanish Academy (composed by nearly 93% of men) indicates that it is an anglicism that has no place in the Spanish language.

However, the truth is that nowadays the concept of gender is broader than the definition offered by the dictionary, and it is socially accepted to refer to the cultural construction that determines the different behaviours of men and women and that is not based on biological (sexual) differences. In this line, talking about gender-based violence implies focusing on the fact that violence is the result of the social construction of masculinity and femininity, which allows us to understand that we are faced with a type of violence that despite being exercised ultimately on an individual basis, is the result of the situation of discrimination caused by the hegemonic patriarchal social structure. In the same vein, in recent times the literature has begun to generalise the use of the term “macho violence” (violencia machista), which also puts the spotlight on the patriarchal origins of the violence, and at the same time avoids the use of the anglicism.

As we can see and based on the previous observations, it is very important to choose the term right when it comes to naming the phenomenon. “Gender-based violence” and “domestic violence” are not the same, as the first puts the emphasis on the fact that all the receivers of violence are women as a result of the patriarchal society, and the second refers to a space and a kind of kinship relations. The use and confusion between the terms used in an interested manner contributes to the maintenance of the social consideration of abuse towards women as another form of violence. When both concepts merge into one, the result is the concealing of the fact that the abuse is exercised against women just for being women, as pointed out by the Organic Law in his explanatory statement:

“Violence against women is not a problem affecting the private sphere. On the contrary, it manifests itself as the most brutal symbol of the inequality that exists in our society. It is a type of violence that is directed towards women just because they are women, because their abusers consider them devoid of the minimum rights of freedom, respect, and decision making capacity” (Organic Law 1/2004).

This makes it difficult for violence against women to be visible in the public space, and maintains it in the privacy of the home, encouraging the prejudice that it is a problem that must be solved in private. The use of the term violence gender-based violence or macho violence, on the other hand, reveals the social and cultural, not biological or private, foundation of this aggression as a result of the different positions that men and women occupy in our society.

1.2.2. Types of gender-based violence

As we have just seen in the preceding section, it is very important to choose carefully the term that we are going to give to these acts, but once this aspect has been decided, we must now ask ourselves what kind of acts are we talking about when we talk about gender-based violence or macho violence, and what kind of attacks can and cannot be considered under this terms, because this will determine what units of analysis are and are not taken into consideration in the universe of this research.

In the final Declaration of the United Nations at the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995),

“The term violence against women means any act of gender-based violence that results of is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.”

Therefore, gender-based violence can adopt, among others, the following forms:

a) physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;

b) Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rapes, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;

c) Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs (Beijing, 1995).

According to the previous, at least three categories are clear when talking about types of violence of macho violence, namely, physical violence, sexual violence and psychological violence, although these categories do not specify what other types of acts can also be considered acts of gender-based violence.

Despite the clarity of these types of gender-based violence, we must observe that not all of them receive the same attention. In the majority of cases, the media, institutions, research studies, and society itself, refer only to acts of physical violence, especially those concerning rape and murder. This does not deny that there are other types of gender-based violence that are not physical, but the truth is that the attention paid to them is not enough.

1.2.3. Gender-based violence in the Spanish media

The media play a fundamental role in the visibility of gender-based violence. According to Concha Fagoaga (1994 and 1999), the arrival of women to positions of responsibility in the world of journalism was when this problem began to form an important part of the news agenda of the media.

The diversity that exists in the media in terms of interests, political and economic positions, among others, makes messages to have to meet two ends difficult to reconcile. The first one responds to the need for news to have a serious treatment and in accordance with the seriousness of the events, and the second is related to the business interests of the medium which can lead to spectacle and sensationalism, representing the phenomenon based on gender stereotypes.

However, we can say that the emergence and evolution in the treatment of these news by the media has not obeyed only to criteria of media interest or audiences, but that it has been achieved by the process of institutionalisation and legitimation of the social denunciation of this phenomenon, its exit from the private sphere and the its discussion in the public arena. This has been possible thanks to feminist groups, NGOs, and other civil and governmental institutions that support women. Thus, the transition from the private to the public sphere has led what was previously perceived as isolated and individual events to be perceived as a social problem.

Therefore, we can say that today, in addition to the exposure of the problem itself, the media has adopted an attitude of complaint that encourages public debate and the search for solutions, providing figures, statements by experts, court judgments, statistics, etc., rejecting any sexist declaration or action that legitimises violence. But while this is the trend, women are still facing negative treatments.

This can be because despite all, there is still not enough specialisation among journalists and the self-regulation codes that exist still have huge loopholes or are not are applied.

2. Methods

When analysing the content of the mass media and the reception of the message, we can choose between quantitative or qualitative approaches. This study uses qualitative approaches and data collection and analysis tools because that is what we need to obtain detailed and in-depth results, not rounded numbers that do not help us understand the process of reception and the construction of opinions in people.

To achieve our research objectives, we have chosen the focus group method, which incorporates a key element to understand the complexity of the media discourse around gender-based violence and how the public receives these messages (Llopis, 2004). The flexibility of this dynamic, and the spontaneous and relaxed environment in which it develops, together with its depth and nuances, make it the ideal research tool to achieve our goals, and not only to unravel the different perceptions of the audiovisual discourses, but also to register the influence of cultural variables related to macho violence. However, there are other research techniques that complement the focus group method and are also necessary because they allow us to identify the different patterns of the discourse developed in TV news programmes, as well as the production patterns in which these discourses are generated.

Our framework of study (Andalusia and its public television network: RTV) determined the selection of the members of the focus groups: residents of Andalusia, and with profiles that represent the social and demographic diversity of the autonomous region. Therefore, we organised six focus groups according to two differentiating criteria: gender and geographical location, in order to address the diversity of socio-demographic profiles.

In the different focus groups, men and women were separated to prevent participants of other sex from provoking any kind of conditioning to free opinion.

With regards to the criterion of geographical location, we selected three different areas: one eminently urban area, an average city that encompassed activities and dynamics from urban and rural areas, and another a strictly rural area. In this way, and taking into account the number of inhabitants and the distribution of Andalusia, we formed two focus groups (one of formed by men and one by women) in each of the following locations:

● Málaga (564,479 inhabitants), capital of the province of Málaga.

● Chiclana (82,212 inhabitants), province of Cádiz

● Gilena (3,897 inhabitants), province of Seville.

The sessions were held on 7 and 8 April 2014 in Málaga, on 2 June in Chiclana, and on 3 June in Gilena. Regarding the composition of each group, we established a minimum of six and a maximum of ten participants (Llopis, 2004; Grunig, 1990; Bisquerra, 2004), with the aim of promoting dialogue and the sharing of different positions while preserving the agility of the sessions.

In the search for complementarity of points of view and experiences from an intergenerational perspective, we decided to cover a wide range of ages and included participants over the age of 16 and did not established a maximum age limit (there were no participants over the age of 73 in any groups). In the same way, with the objective of sharing visions and build collective proposals, we pursued diversity in the educational level and employment situation of participants.

Their interventions have been encoded in the text and identified according to the following table:

 Gilena’s men



Gilena’s women

Public employee
Retired business woman
Free lancer
Domestic/foreign employee


Chiclana’s men

Social graduate
High school student
Representative of immigrant association
Member of theatre group


Chiclana’s women

Domestic/foreign employee
Social educator
Retired economist
Equality agent


Málaga’s men

Foreign trader
Independent/foreign worker
Advisor / foreigner
Municipal employee


Málaga’s women

High-school student
University student
Independent worker
Retired teacher
Free foreign worker


The sessions lasted approximately one hour and were moderated by two members of the research team and recorded with a camcorder to facilitate the subsequent transcription and analysis of data. They were structured around the viewing of 3 news pieces that were previously subjected to critical discourse analysis in a complementary study phase.

The news pieces are:

- CSN1 Local Málaga. 06/11/2013. News story titled “Garden City case”.

- CSN2 Autonómico. 11/12/2013. News story titled “Condemnatory sentences”.

- CSN2 Local Almería. 13/01/2014. News story titled “Nijar case”.

All sessions followed the same pattern: after a brief introductory presentation, we proceeded to the reproduction of the first of news video clip, after which participants were allowed to comment and discuss the highlights of the discourse. The same happened with the rest of the pieces. Moderators were responsible for guiding the dynamics towards the issues of interest for the research whenever it was necessary. Moderators did not share with participants the context of the events reported in the news pieces, nor the order of appearance of these pieces in the news programme, or any other related content that may have been broadcast by the programme. Our interest focused on the collective analysis of the news and their capacity to reveal the preconceptions of the population in relation to violence against women.

In this sense, during the development of each session some participants shared certain interests and demands that exceeded the limits of a mere description or collective interpretation of news discourses, and of our expectations. In this way, after the transcription and analysis of the data recorded during the sessions, we broke down the main constants, the thematic lines that we proposed and the most significant contributions expressed spontaneously by the different groups.

These constants form the three main categories on which we collected data, which were later organised and presented in this article to reflect the topics discussed in each of the aforementioned focus groups:

  1. Informative treatment of the selected news: general assessment of the piece (quality, clarity, tone and style), with special emphasis on the terminology, sources, evaluation of the existence of prior complaint by woman victim of violence, as well as the valuation of the various profiles represented.

  2. Perception of macho violence: General considerations on this type of violence, focusing on the legal situation, the causes of the violence and the public dimension of it, expressed during the discussion about the news

  3. .Media and gender-based violence: overall assessment of the media’s approach to macho violence.

3. Results

The treatment of the results of the focus groups are articulated and differ according to their components, their territorial location and, the categories that guided the discussion. From here, we begin to hear the points of view of each of the members of the groups, the points of coincidence, the qualifications and the stories that endured after the public expression of the testimonies.

3.1. The voices
3.1.1. Gilena’s men’s focus group

It was composed of 6 males who resided in Gilena, aged 26 to 73 years; their employment situation was varied (one of them was employed, 2 were unemployed and 3 were retired) as well as their educational level (3 had elementary education, 1 secondary education and 2 had university studies.

As a general assessment, the majority of participants noticed the lack of clarity in the data provided in the news titled “Condemnatory sentences”, interpreting the information on the percentage of acquittals in the judicial proceedings on violence against women as ambiguous. Between the possible explanatory interpretations of this data, we could deduce laxity in the enforcement of the law, irregularities in the procedures and falsity in the events on trial.

The question of the information sources remarkably captured the attention of participants, particularly with regards to the use as source of the victim’s female neighbour in the news “Garden city case”, which strongly and widely showed its commitment to the legitimacy of this source, considering the difficulties of the editor in the search for information when such events occur. Several participants noticed that it was the anonymity of the neighbour what authorises the use of the source. However, they appreciated very eloquently the intervention of the representative of the Men’s Association for Gender Equality in the news titled “Condemnatory sentences”. Participants unanimously recognised the importance of the emergence of non-institutional male figures in the news, and stood out the impact it may have on the audience, as it involved all of society in the problem of violence against women.

The general agreement broke somewhat in the interpretation of the incorporation of the testimony of the female neighbour based on the conception of violence against women as a domestic phenomenon. One participant stated “(...) and the fact that the news highlights it, reflects that idea that it is something domestic, something that should be sweep inwards, when it is a problem of the whole of society.” (G5).

Faced with the opportunity to include some sources, the questioning of others, the institutional ones, as in the piece titled “Condemnatory sentences”, which has the opinion of the Director of the Andalusian Women’s Institute and the Minister of Justice and Interior of the Government of Andalusia, and the “Nijar case”, which includes the opinion of the Delegate of the Central Government of Andalusia. The interventions of these representatives were evaluated negatively, and perceived as contradictory given the scarcity of resources allocated by the institutions, and it was argued that their presence aimed to endorse the work and the need of existence of these public figures, but that this was not achieved because the reality was that they were not making all the efforts required.

 Another of the most questionable aspects of the news was the identification of the people represented, and this was brought to light by the mentioning of the nationality of the murdered women and the killer of the “Nijar case”, both Moroccans, which is the data the news emphasises repeatedly. This fact causes the general rejection by the group, whose members do not recognise the contribution of the information about the nationality, and consider that this is a type of discrimination which contradicts what they perceive as an objective fact, i.e., that it is an exception and they worry that the mentioning of the nationality contributes, consciously or unconsciously, to establishing the idea of a higher incidence of violence against women among ethno-cultural minorities, and that this differentiation affects the empathy of the spectators towards the victims of macho crimes, because it is presented as a foreign phenomenon. 

3.1.2. Gilena’s women’s focus group

It was formed by nine women aged 31 to 63 years, 5 of them were employed and one of the was retired, two were unemployed and one was a housewife. Four of them had elementary studies, two secondary studies, and two had university studies, and one had media studies. Eight of them were of Spanish nationality and one of Moroccan nationality and origin.

Contrary to the case of their neighbours, participants understood that the testimony of a neighbour delegitimised the information, but immediately also remarked that close sources result in greater social awareness.

The difficult balance between awareness that appeals to the frameworks of affection and commitment and awareness-raising in tune with the vindication of rights and freedoms. In the opinion of the members of this group, the individualism that is present in society and the private sphere is attributed to this type of violence explains the lack of necessary and widespread commitment to citizenry.

The nationality of the victim and the aggressor in the “Nijar case” was addressed in a secondary manner in the session, asking in any case about the function that such information performs in the news. The frugal debate was between G8 and G16:

“The fact that she is Moroccan does not matter, but it is emphasised over and over again” (G8); “There are many immigrants working in Almeria, that is why they insist on that...” (G16);

“It neither matter whether she is Moroccan or from other country, she is a woman and that’s it.” (G8).

The Moroccan participant of the Group G14 did not even speak once. We do not know whether she has no opinion on the matter, or whether she prefers to keep it to herself.

The news items “Garden City case” and “Condemnatory sentences” generated in this group many comments about the social assessment of macho violence, the inadequacy of resources allocated to it and the complexity of the design of an adequate assistance system. The public gestures of condemnation of violence by the institutional representatives were questioned in a context of cuts in social policy. An of the assistants, working for the Town Hall of Gilena, expressed in the following way:  

“I’ve been doing it for many years, we gather in the centre to show that we are against it, but in the end we are exactly the same and wonder what we have achieved with that. Work is needed in the development of measures.” (G7)

With regards to the social impact of violence against women, women related it with cultural causes in a context of questioning and bankruptcy of patriarchy, ruling out socio-economic factors from its appearance. The concern for the increase in violence in the younger population focused the debate in this sense, oriented towards education as an element of transformation of the situation: 

“Do you think that 15-year-olds are more aware than us, than our generation, in that subject because there is more information, more talking, and yet the data that is presented is incredible.” (G7);
“If you work on the issue of equality at home… with your children… either boys or girls, they will have another view of this problem” (G7).

3.1.3. Chiclana’s men’s focus group

It was composed of 7 persons. In occupational terms, three of them were active, two were unemployed, one was retired and one was a student. Three of them had university studies, two had high school education, one elementary education and one secondary education. One participant was of Moroccan nationality, and the rest were Spaniards.

After viewing the news titled “Garden City case”, considered an “extensive” and “complete” news story, participants reflected on its use of resources. There was agreement in the intentional aseptic treatment of the narration, whose suitability was questioned by participants. With regards to the second news story, “Condemnatory sentences”, the group expressed agreement on the excess of data, and debated on its effects, which the majority disapproved.

On the use of the testimony of a female neighbour of the victim of the “Garden City case” as source of the information, the comments revolved around its reliability, which was questioned in the following way:  

“It is just the statement of a lady, we do not know what is her relationship with this family, how they saw what happened, this should be explained...” (Ch3).

However, the group also assessed positively the intention and the way in which the testimony of the neighbour was narrated, i.e., in an indirect way in the narration of the editor.

And with regards to the reiteration of the Moroccan nationality of the victim and the murderer of the “Nijar case”, participants condemned it because of the possible contribution to the consolidation of stereotypes about macho violence:

“We understand that the Moroccan nationality is a little remarkable, but I do not think mentioning it many times is ok” (Ch2);

“We already have the preconceived idea that this occurs in low social sectors, with very little education, but no. I think that these news stories will not help in the fight against this scourge” (Ch3).

Once again, the Moroccan participant fails to give their opinion.

In a more ideological level, during the session the group related several times the legacy of the Francoist dictatorship with the “prevailing sexism in our society” (Ch7), the basis of the violence against women and of the silence installed around it: “society is in its infancy in this aspect of the fight...” (Ch7). Participants also related this type of violence with social class because they boasted a widespread incidence, although they distinguished between this common place and the image presented by the media, which, in their view, usually relate violence against women with the lack of socio-economic resources:  

“what has struck me is that even a judge was sentenced...” (Ch3);

“I’m sure that when it is stockbroker they do not say it, but what they emphasise is that he was unemployed, looking for work...” (Ch4);

“I tend to think that in certain situations, when they have more resources, more weapons, they get away with it and do not come to this” (Ch4).

Political commitment is assumed to be superficial because when greater involvement is demanded, it is claimed:  

“They call you two or three times to court for what you’ve seen, and thing gets very complicated (...) the person whose head is heated the most is the person who gets called” (Ch7).

Again, participants also noted the cultural and historical factors as an explanation to the lack of public response to the problem:  

“In other countries, England, Germany, Holland is much more normal to denounce gender-based violence...” (Ch7);

“I’m going to report my neighbour, and I am going to get into trouble. Those are their problems, the remaining obstacles after 30 years of dictatorship, where every house was sacrosanct...” (Ch7).

The duty of denounce and responsibility seems to affect only the media, “not only their duty to inform, but also their duty to denounce” (Ch7).

3.1.4. Chiclana’s women’s focus group

The group was composed of eight participants; half of them were employed, one was unemployed, one was retired, one was a student and one a housewife. Of them, one had elementary school studies, two had secondary school studies, and five had university education. It is worth noting that one of the participants has specialised education in gender and another one had professional experience in the field of assistance to victims. All the women were of Spanish nationality, with the exception of one, who was of Bolivian nationality.

Participants evaluated certain aspects of the tone, style, and accuracy of the news stories. In general terms, they made reference to the standardisation appreciated in the news, and by extension to the treatment of these news stories on the television news programmes. In particular, they based their argument on the contribution of figures and statistical data on the different news stories, which they judged to be excessive and homogenising:  

“What came to my mind is... a figure (...) another number...” (Ch15);

“It is like a football match, the 24th, the 25th...” (Ch9);

“I don’t care for the numbers, even if it is only one, I don’t care” (Ch11).

Accordingly, and in terms of tone, they discussed the lack of empathy that the news generated in their view:  

“It does not get to you” (Ch11);

“I think it is a very cold way of telling it” (Ch14).

However, the degree of detail in the account of the events, particularly in the news titled “Garden City case”, as well as the explicitness of some images were perceived as morbid in terms of treatment:

“What impressed me the most is the morbidity, the described details and cruelty...” (Ch13);

“They show corpses, and the stretchers...” (Ch12).

The last outstanding assessment has to do with a common feeling among participants, namely their concern for the persistent effort to circumscribe the phenomenon of violence against women to cases of murder:  

“And they say that the death numbers have decreased... as if only those cases in which you end up killed were important!” (Ch11);

“When you ask people on the street what is gender-based violence, they say that: it is men who kill women...” (Ch12);

“Gender-based violence is (...) a much broader problem, but they just focus on that aspect...” (Ch11);

“Murders are only (...) 5 to 10% of the cases...” (Ch13).

The terminology used in the news also received severe criticism from the group and especially from participants educated in gender and with experience in social work with women affected by violence: 

“Nobody dies from gender-based violence; it is murder what kills you...” (Ch13)

“They do not say that they have killed her, it is presented as if she has just found out dead...!” (Ch11)

“That’s it, I like to hear about the person, the treatment of the victim... it is something that gets my interest.” (Ch11)

The use of the female neighbour of the woman murdered in “Garden City case” as source of information received the disapproval of the whole group:  

“When a man affiliated to ETA is assassinated nobody asks whether she was a good person… Her mother will say he was the best son in the world...” (Ch13).

Participants in this group showed overall mistrust in these informative routines:  

“Wow, and the end in front of the town hall with all the municipal corporation... Another style must be given to this news stories” (Ch12);

“It is as if they could not do anything, other than covering the well after someone has died” (Ch13);

“And very cold, as if it was something alien, as if it were a tomato, it lacks empathy...” (Ch11);

“Superficial and just to get out of the situation” (Ch14).

When asked about the informational value of the mention of the existence of previous allegations, participants insisted on two aspects: the absence of a correlation between the filling of a complaint and the avoidance of violence, which contrasted with what the female participants believed the news stories suggested:  

“It has been shown and proved that filling a complaint will not save you from abuse” (Ch13);

“As if justice were the salvation... we know that it is not the case” (Ch11).

Elaborating on this point, one of the participants who worked providing assistance to victims of violence against women made some remarks about the complexity involved in filling a complaint for battering:

“Filling a complaint involves going to a policeman or a civil guard who is not always, or ever, trained for it (…) you have to see the face the aggressor... with the legal uncertainty that it generates...” (Ch13)

The last criterion of the information treatment of the news was once again the representation of the profiles of the victim and the aggressor. After viewing the news stories “Garden City case” participants demanded modifications in the construction of these profiles in the news. In particular, a clearer description of the perpetrator as a “murderer”, “because this is what he has become” (Ch11), and to dissociate the profiled of the woman who has been murdered or who suffers from domestic violence from the notion of “victim”: 

“The woman, as a woman, not as a victim. [The label] victim puts you in a situation of inequality” (Ch11)

“It is as if you were not able to take the reins of your life, as if you were a madwoman or something like that” (Ch13)

For its part, the news titled “Nijar case” unleashed a generalised reaction towards the insistent repetition of the Moroccan nationality of the murdered woman and the murderer. The group rejected not just the repetition but the mere mention, which in their opinion was deliberate, and directly associated macho violence with certain ethno-cultural minorities. Among the comments, the following stand out:  

“The Moroccan woman, the Moroccan woman, how many times have said this about her! And from him...” (Ch15);

“It does not matter what [nationality] she is, she is a woman and this is it” (Ch15);

“I think that the idea is to separate it, because in Morocco that is very normal...” (Ch9)

“Of course, but this also creates confusion (...) this also occurs in Norway and Stockholm” (Ch13)

Once again, one of the participants, perhaps the most qualified voice in this matter, prefers to remain silent. On this occasion, she speaks out to confirm through a generalisation:

“And about equality, although we are very developed it still does not exist (...) And you’ve seen it on TV, in the news. TV speaks of equality between men and women, and also between the nationalities, but that does not exist yet...” (Ch10)

The presence of a 17-year-old man of in the group -which is one of the potentials the focus group method- made it easier for participants to express their concern for education and training in equality as cornerstones in the progressive disappearance of the sexist values that promote violence against women. In that regard, they identified adolescence, with the establishment of the first relationships, as a key moment in the foundation of the values associated with these behaviours, consolidated with myths such as “romantic love”. They insisted a lot on gender balance in this education in an intergenerational dialogue:  

“Both men and women should receive education; it should not always be directed to women” (Ch15);

“In my environment, in adolescence, boys were not sufficiently informed” (Ch8);

They also insisted on the necessary mainstreaming of this education:  

“It’s not that we can do a 15-day long little gender-based violence workshop per year and we have fulfilled our mission” (Ch13).

3.1.5. Málaga’s men’s focus group

This group was composed of seven members, aged between 23 and 64, of which five were employed, one was unemployed and another one was retired. One of the participants only had elementary education and the remaining had university studies. The countries of origin of participants included Spain, Nigeria, Morocco and Argentina.

Targeting some general assessments about the tone and style of the news, members of the group stressed a shared sense of homogeneity between the news showed to them and the rest of the news broadcast on television:  

“one after another” (MA7);

“the structure is the same, the statistical question, whether I report it or not...” (MA7);

“it is true, is like a statistic only” (MA2).

More specifically, participants shared their opinions about the consequences that these formal issues can have in terms of loss of impact on the population:

“... at the end the news story loses all its effectiveness” (MA7);

“No, I think the news get people’s attention, or that it generates a state of opinion” (MA1);

“The aseptic way in which the news stories are presented causes all the opposite, desensitisation” (MA3)

Going beyond the tone of the news, the details provided by the news piece were qualified as “morbid”, as well as expendable or unnecessary strictly speaking: “It is filling stuff” (MA7 and MA2), you could hear repeatedly, when participants connected the decision to include these details with the inherent demands of the operation of television.

Participants reacted unanimously to the allusion to the proceedings on battering and gender-based violence that end up in acquittal in the news story titled “Condemnatory sentences”. For them, this news story lacks clarity, the data provided are confusing and do not explain the factors that justify that rate of acquittals:  

“They were fraudulent allegations or what is missing?” (MA2);

“Or the authorities have not acted in time...” (MA5);

“What happened there, I think the news should elaborate on that” (MA2).

With regards to the names used, the controversy was similar to the one in other groups of males: some were in favour of the use of the term “gender-based violence” in comparison to “macho violence”, but argued different reasons. In general, the first expression was perceived as more “inclusive”, while “macho violence is something that can bring about certain rejection from part of the population” (MA5). However, the debate on the optimal term was also accompanied by a discussion about the phenomenon of gender-based violence, and the alleged incidence of violence from women towards men as a reason to reject the use of “macho violence”. Here are some outstanding comments:  

“… because even if it is a small percentage, we all know that violence occurs in the opposite direction” (MA6);
“Come now, not only men mistreat women... there are also women who abuse men” (MA5).

But also in the opposite direction:  

“No, the ones dying are women. And when the violence is more malignant, the man kills the woman’s child” (MA1).

Regarding the sources, the group accepted the testimony of the female neighbour as an information source in the “Garden City case” news story. This validated the legitimacy of the neighbourhood as a source of information, and this was justified by the proximity to the focus of the violence and the alleged knowledge of the events:

“The journalist has to look for the source, and the most reliable is the one that has been able to hear something, or is closer” (MA1)

“It is very common among people who live in a neighbourhood to know who is abusing his wife or threatening to kill a woman...” (MA5).

This positive halo is related to the possibility of appealing to the collaboration of citizens: “You have to take proactive measures, if you notice something weird, you notify the authorities” (MA5). When asked about the representative of the Men’s Association for Gender Equality in the “Condemnatory sentences” news piece, the members of the group praised his presence as a destabilising model of stereotypes, followed by the media and specifically television:  

“We already have the conception that men mistreat women. And to include an Association of men who are against macho violence contributes to changing that idea” (MA7).

The Moroccan nationality of the murdered woman and her killer, in the “Nijar case” news story, attracted good part of the attention in the session. All participants agreed that the repeated mention of that nationality in the news pieces was at least excessive, and were concerned about the risk of associating episodes of violence against women with certain ethno-cultural minorities. Thus, they specified their concern with regards to the responsibility of the media in the establishment of stereotypes:  

“You hear the nationality and it immediately conditions your thinking...” (MA6);

“This turns it into a cliché, if you’re trying to give a balanced perspective to the news, this already reduces the importance of the news story (...) and has transfers it to a trivial aspect” (MA5).

With representatives of various nationalities and ethnic minorities in the group, participants also warned that these news stories could affect the integration of migrants:  

“... this news story aims to create more distance with the immigrant population.” (MA4).

The most debated aspects focused on the fact that, according to some, the media did not represent women on men violence. This was followed by a discussion between some participants about the alleged existence of false allegations of mistreatment from women towards their male partners. In this topic, assertive positions were expressed from each side, and there was a remarkable tension between some members. The economic crisis was postulated as the most plausible explanation for the so-called index of false denunciations:  

“There is another reality, we are living a very hard moment of the crisis, which is an abuse of complaints...” (MA4);

“I had never heard about this modality... in which for any reason she fills a complaint about her husband... it is astonishing” (MA1);

“A marital rift… in which the woman is aware she enjoys a great deal of protection...” (MA6);

“There are very few, I would not enter into this debate because it would undermine the discussion...” (MA1).

Definitely this type of discussions occurs in groups of males with greater “spontaneity” and frequency.

3.1.6. Málaga’s women’s focus group

The group was composed of nine women aged 17 to 65 years. Four of them were employed, two unemployment, one was retired and the other two were students. Most of them, six, had university education, one was attending secondary school and the other only had elementary education. Most of them were of Spanish nationality, one was Romanian and another one was Cameroonian.

The members of this group agreed that the news titled “Condemnatory sentences” lacks clarity, as its indication of a drop in the number of complaints in the past four years generated confusion regarding the reasons of that decline: “what does it mean? That there are fewer cases? That the Law on gender is working? That women do not trust anyone and do not report the violence?” (MA11).

Participants calibrated the legitimacy and desirability of the three sources of information: the female neighbour of one of the murdered women, the government delegate in Andalusia as institutional representative and the spokesman for the Men’s Association for Gender Equality. With regards to the first one of the sources, there were two general comments. On the one hand, this type of source was described as “little rigorous” (MA11), even though it was appreciated that the participation of the neighbour was indirect, off camera, which is “much more sensationalist and morbid” (MA11). On the other hand, its contribution and presence was vindicated, as it was understood as a call for citizen involvement in violence against women: “It’s a way to raise awareness, we need to be aware that we have to stand up, it is an invitation, to battered and non-battered women” (MA16). The government delegate attracted harsh criticism by the group, whose statements were disapproved by the members, as they were understood as a form of self-justification, and questioned their legitimacy as an information source. They expressed their discontent with phrases such as:

“They have said that the Civil Guard is against it... but who is not against it?” (MA15)

“Because they do not what to say anymore...” (MA15);

“It is another political function… it is not a source of investigation” (MA11);

“The delegate comes out only to praise herself and the civil guard for the work it has done (…) but if they had done their job well, the woman would not be dead” (MA16).

Finally, the participation of the representative of the Men’s Association for Gender Equality was praised by participants, who spontaneously appreciated his inclusion as an information source as a sign of social change and a positive model for the male population: “I like to see a group of men who want to take that step higher, I love it!” (MA14).

Participants expressed different opinions about the information value of the allusion to previous complaints related to cases of gender-based violence. With regards to the effects of this mention, participants were divided between those who considered that the dissemination of the complaints data could serve to promote the importance of reporting abuse and those who appreciated the possible discouraging consequences between among women in similar situations. “why would I fill a complaint... if she gets killed anyways” (MA13). However, this point led participants to continue providing details about the criticism to the public powers and their representation on the news.

“This is a way to clean up the image of the institutions” (MA14);
“The estate has nothing to do, because a woman had made a complaint… I see it this way” (MA14).

To clarify this last point, participants diminished in any case the impact of the complaint in the avoidance of violence: “denunciation is promoted a lot (…) that message is constant and at the end we assimilate it, but then reality does not respond, is a very complicated issue” (MA11).

With regards to the profiles represented in the different news, participants assessed positively the maintenance of the anonymity of the victim and the alleged killer, and some pointed out that greater attention was given to the abuser than to the murdered woman: “he has more prominence” (MA15), complains one of the female participating. As in other occasions, the group agreed that the repeated mentioning of the Moroccan nationality of the murderer and the victim of the “Nijar case” was unnecessary: “they have repeated it many times, I don’t know whether that figure was so important...” (MA11). However, the stronger criticisms were directed at the supposed correlation between gender violence and the cultural otherness of those represented, and therefore any ethnic minority, implicit in the wording of the news. Only the women of Romanian nationality appealed later to her condition and reaffirmed the existence of a retrograde mindset in her country of origin that affects subjects, and has the involvement of the police: 

“…I identify a little bit with that because twelve years ago I had to divorce my husband because he started to hit me to the point of breaking my... and I had a little boy. I’m not talking about Spain; I am talking about my country. It happens here, it happens all over the world. I went to the police to fill a complaint but I didn’t know that I had to go to the doctor before so they tell me to go to the doctor to get the certificate in front of my sister and brother-in-law… So I filled up a complaint and moved to my brother-in-law’s house and two weeks later police men knock at the door and tell me that I have to withdraw my statement, that I cannot take him to trial. “Why? because I said so. And who are you? I’m the police”. But how can you can come into my house without knowing who I am? I won’t remove the complaint or anything... There are many women that also go through this with the police; there is also the woman who goes to the police, fills the complaint, but her husband has friends on the police station and they act on his favour. Especially in small towns. And if the woman does not become “a man” it reaches a point...” (MA10).

Participants reiterated their distrust in the judicial and political system as a formula to tackle gender-based violence. This conviction was expressed throughout the session after viewing each of the three selected news stories. One of the participants expressed a generalised idea about the inefficiency of the instances of justice:  

“The woman fills a complaint, but what will happen? (…) the judge does not act. The work of the police is limited...” (MA16),

Participants also demanded legislative changes:  

“We are going to implement more restrictive laws... (…) they should not give him a restraining order! What a stupid thing to do!” (MA14).

One of the issues that attracted the most attention was the alleged existence of false allegations of gender-based abuse and violence. One of the female participants pointed out that “sometimes women want things that a man cannot give to them and she decides to get him to court...” (MA13). This comment was followed by similar remarks about the reasons that could support the interposition of these allegedly false denunciations, such as: “the hate that is generated in a couple, the economic...” (MA15). However, the presence of a female lawyer in the group eventually settled the debate, as she shared her knowledge on the subject based on her professional experience:  

“The complaint is not false, because there is a conflict or fear of something. Instead, it is used many times to go for the fast track. But it is not that the woman has no problems...” (MA14).

Finally, participants debated for a long period over the causes of violence, as well as the practices that maintain it. The cultural and religious causes were the most remarked, in particular those related to the recent history of the Spanish State. One of the participants reminded us of these passages: “40 or 50 years ago, Spain established how a wife should behave and it was impressive. When your husband comes home, take off his shoes, do not disrupt his tranquillity, consent to his strange sexual practices... someone with 50 years of age has seen this in her mother. Thus we have to fight harder” (MA14). Egalitarian family and formal education between genders was insistently claimed as the ideal tool for the progressive eradication of gender-based violence. The youngest participant expressed concern on the current orientation of education:  

“We are educating women to defend ourselves from men’s attack, but we are not educating men not to raise their hand over women” (MA8).

3.2. Discourses and silences

If the selected method allows us to hear the voices of our participants, it also allows us to extract the discourses, and to deduce the configurations that support the conceptions-conceptualisations of the problem. Legally, gender-based violence is described in the preliminaries of the Organic Law 1/2004, but it stubbornly persists in mentalities. The discourses on violence still tend to circumscribe the issue to women, although it is true that it begins to acquire a still incipient public dimension.

For example, the valuation of the presence of neighbour as an information source in the “Garden City case” raises the debate about the public dimension of the phenomenon but leads to the debate on how the environment of the victim and the social pressure can urge women to not file a complaint. “Instead of reporting it, women opt to keep quiet for their children, for fear of what other people are going to say… the first time she stays silent, the second time too, and by the third time it is already too late” (G4). In parallel, and in terms of the responsibility for the rest of society in the denunciation of the violence, the moral theoretical obligation of all citizens in the task is assumed by participants, who also mention certain obstacles to the exercise of such responsibility. These were the lack of guarantees for the protection of the witnesses who fills up the complaint:

“The person who fills the complaint will feel protected from reprisals?” (G1);

“In the USA there is a witness protection programme. Is one in here? We have to understand the individual fear, especially if you are a neighbour” (G2).

The distrust in the firmness of the posture of the battered woman:

“Often, the neighbours call the police or denounce the abuse and then when the police come over the battered woman denies the abuse. She says I was just talking to my husband...” (G4).

Last, but not least, there remains a lack of social awareness in the consideration of domestic violence as a crime. 

The discourses often also make reference to the ballast that preclude the approach to violence as attempt to rights and freedoms, and which is what survives in some discourses in an elitist social-class-based construction:

“I was struck by what the neighbour said about the lack of means, not having money and being very isolated... it is usually true that we watch television news programmes and do not pay as much attention as we are paying today…” (Ch4)

“... many times there is a problem of lack of means, of submission of women to the husband at the level of not having money to even go to the hairdresser” (Ch6).

“But that’s not what we’re saying, that... it is not the poor, poor man, that man was ok...” (Ch3).
“Maybe it is not what the news shows say; if it is a family like that in principle nothing is said; they emphasise if they are unemployed or live in a bad situation; and if it is a family that apparently is not in that situation... well maybe nothing is said. It seems that if they don’t say it, it is true. I would say that this only occurs in the most disadvantaged situations...” (Ch1).

Explanations about the increase in violence against women abound among participants, who also established a correlation between the socio-labour and economic situation of families, which according to some has worsened with the current economic crisis, and the emergence of situations of violence. “Families reach extreme situations in which there is not enough money to pay for the rent and the children’s education and that is when the discussions start. Today that is the reason, tomorrow there is another reason, and then there is beating and even murder” (G4). Elaborating on the line of economic insecurity, the lack of economic empowerment of women complicates the situations of macho violence, subtracting her independence in decision-making during the process: 

“With resources, it is much easier to be independent to fill the complaint, to split from the abusive husband, to do everything, but without resources, you have to stand the situation. And if you bear the situation it can get you killed...” (G1)

“I was struck about his profession, but she said nothing, he was a taxi driver...” (Ch1)
“I assume she works at home.” (Ch6)

“I think that we have to imagine that this lady works at her home… but… it is also a consequence of the culture and the misinformation of the person that prepared this report” (Ch3)

The context of crisis, job insecurity, the loss of the status of independent breadwinner -in the economic analysis and feminist criticism- is present in the groups of men, where their role is still associated with their participation in the public sphere, in extra-domestic field [2].

It is also important to note how to the situation of inequality is superimposed a new bias that distances us from our fellow human beings, our peers and other people that are the protagonists of the information. This is particularly significant, as mentioned, in the case of migrants who do not speak as such and the majority of participants who decides not to share their experience or their direct knowledge on the topics treated, particularly in the case of the groups of Málaga which can have a direct or indirect knowledge of the cases treated. This process of estrangement, which can perhaps be attributed to the exercise of the role of observers, is certainly discouraging in the comprehensive approach to this problem, because empathy is essential. Only the social worker speaks of her experience:  

“I’ve worked for four years in a shelter in Cadiz and (...) when a woman arrived she was in principle suspected to be a liar... and she had to prove that she was in fact a battered wife.” (Ch13).

4. Conclusions

As we have argued, the media and the information treatment given to gender-based violence acquires a key role when it comes to fighting against it. Apart from the different approaches, there is unanimity on the need to analyse, report and correct the current view that society has on this issue. Some years ago, the major concern was to publicly expose these events that always occur but remained invisible. Today, this problem is not denied but is still not properly addressed in some cases. Despite the fact that public denunciation and social awareness is increasing, and that there are measures of protection for victims, the real causes of this phenomenon are not explained, so the problem does not decrease and will continue occur with frequency. The future does not seem too hopeful if we add that in recent years, and as a result of budget reductions, many programmes of assistance and education and awareness-raising campaigns have been eliminated.

The examination of the focus groups that we have carried out has revealed the discourse that citizens build with the messages provided by the media, and which is summarised in the following table:

News / focus group




Gilena’s men

Lack of clarity

The inclusion of the spokesperson of the Men’s Association for Gender Equality is considered to be positive

Mentioning the murdered woman’s nationality is considered to be inappropriate

Gilena’s women

Insufficient resources and lack of clarity

Insufficient resources

Mentioning the murdered woman’s nationality is considered to be inappropriate

Chiclana’s men

Excess of data and confusion

News report is complete and extensive.

Mentioning the murdered woman’s nationality is considered to be inappropriate

Chiclana’s women

-Confusing data
-Informational bias

-Use of explicit images is disapproved
-Consideration of stories that end up in murder as newsworthy is disapproved
-Use of neighbour’s testimony is disapproved

Mentioning the murdered woman’s nationality is considered to be inappropriate

Málaga’s men

-Doubts about cases ending in acquittal
-Confusing data

The use of the neighbour’s testimony is approved

Mentioning the murdered woman’s nationality is considered to be inappropriate

Málaga’s women

-Doubts about cases ending in acquittal
-Confusing data
-Little rigour in sources

-The use of the neighbour’s testimony is considered to be irrelevant but is not disapproved.

Mentioning the murdered woman’s nationality is considered to be inappropriate

As Mies (1999) points out, research from below is at the same time a process of awareness for social researchers and the subjects under investigation. That is what we have observed in our analysis. Based on the analysis of the news pieces, the members of the group expressed their views and felt qualified as educated and critical audience. However, we also noticed that participants’ stories were fairly homogeneous, without age, educational level, and even nationality contributing to the establishment of diversity. We have seen that even the discourses on violence were configured mainly as a women’s problem, although they try to acquire a public character.

Nevertheless, our conclusion is that there is no approach as a public problem despite their discourses refer to the political forces, and the state security forces. We understand that there is an essentially individual and private approach, centred on the lack of protection of women, the ineffectiveness of the institutions and the determination of the perpetrators.

The media are indispensable tools of mediation between the reality and citizens and it is evident in the criticism towards the sources, but it is deficit in terms of conceptualisation – as we have seen - and the correct designation of the social phenomenon.

We can conclude then that some awareness has been achieved and hat this acts as an inverse correlation to the number of homicides (Lorente, 2009). Now, it is necessary to intervene in those aspects which, after this research, have been detected and identified: 

“It is a murder, but it is a process, not a result, it is the tip of the iceberg, but you confuse the amplitude of gender-based violence with murders, you say it is the same that a man who kills a woman kills a man. And it is not, it is different, it has nothing to do” (Ch13).

  • Funding: Excellence project funded by the Government of Andalusia. Project: P11-TIC-7999. Observatory of the Information Treatment of Gender-Based Violence with Emphasis on Cultural/Ethnic Identity.

Websites: www.obvio.uma.es and www.facebook.com/obvio.uma.es/

5. Notes

[1] Organic Law 1/2004, of 28 December, on Integrated Protection Measures against Gender Violence. Article 14, chapter II.

[2] The maintenance of the traditional family model based on the figure of the male breadwinner entered into crisis at the end of the 20th century. The structural change is economic and ideological and is interpreted in terms of conflict and generation of violence. See Pérez Orozco, Amaia (2014). Subversión feminista de la economía. Apuntes para un debate sobre el conflicto capital-vida (“Feminist subversion of the economy. Notes for a debate on the capital-life conflict”). Madrid: Traficantes de sueños.

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How to cite this article in bibliographies / References

I Postigo Gómez, T Vera Balanza, A Cortés González (2016): “Interpretation of representations of macho violence in television news programmes”. Revista Latina de Comunicación Social, 71, pp. 912 to 939.
DOI: 10.4185/RLCS-2016-1127en

Article received on 12 July 2016. Accepted on 24 September.
Published on 27 September 2016.