2017 Write to End Violence Against Women Awards Announced

At a ceremony held at the Scottish Parliament Garden Lobby on 7 December 2017 the five winners of the annual competition winners of the Write to End Violence Against Women Awards were announced.

The competition, that is open to all those writing in Scotland, has categories open to both paid and unpaid writing and the awards seek to drive up standards in journalism by rewarding those committed to furthering the cause of gender equality through their work. Winners are selected by a panel of judges who represent a selection of women’s organisations as follows: Kainde Manji, Co-chair of Zero Tolerance; Lesley McDowell, Author and critic; Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women’s Aid; Mariem Omari, activist, playwright and performer and Laura Jones and Heather McDaid, publishers at 404 Ink.

Laura Tomson, Co-director of Zero Tolerance, that is hosting this year’s awards with the support of Engender, White Ribbon Scotland, Everyday Victim Blaming, Women 50:50, Scottish Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis Scotland, Women for Independence and the Scottish Refugee Council, said “Responsible media coverage of violence against women plays a crucial role in changing the culture which allows it to thrive. After five years of running the Write to End Violence Against Women Awards we can safely say that high-quality, accurate writing about violence against women is not only possible, but could be the norm. We are delighted to celebrate the writers who are increasing public understanding of gender based violence, and we will continue to demand this high standard from all Scottish media.”

From a shortlist that can be viewed here https://writetoendvaw.com/2017/11/22/shortlist-announced-for-the-2017-a… , the winners are:

For Best Article News - Annie Brown, Daily Record
‘Island rape victims forced to endure second hell due to lack of local forensic facilities’
Judges’ comments: “This article had everything - it's a very important subject that needs more attention, it spoke to real victims of the lack of services, it suggested how this might be remedied. It was both wide-ranging and specific, and was written clearly and cleanly.”
“This article raises a very important issue through a well written and original contribution. It draws well on agencies that have expertise in this area and links well to wider issues around violence against women as well as the particular issue addressed.”

For Best Article Feature - Vicky Allan, Sunday Herald
‘Domestic abuse: This article will upset you, but it is vital that you read it’
Judges’ comments: “This article is a terrific piece of reporting, presenting shocking and horrific details from several cases of domestic and sexual violence in a dramatic but respectful telling. Liberal use of direct quotes from agency staff and the women themselves gave the stories such credibility and power, and the surrounding context laid bare the context of gendered oppression that is so often missing from features like this. A tour de force of a story.”
“As the title suggests, difficult to read, but vital. This was the most powerful piece for its successful engagement with both the factual and the anecdotal, in a way that grabbed attention and maintained it. With a relentless opening paragraph to set the grim scene, Vicky knows how to exemplify a troubling tone within a victim's experience and bring it round to the relevance that was the Domestic Abuse Bill, new at the time of writing. An essential read for all - an important window into a victim's life that is understandably so difficult to share, done so with tact and empathy.”

For Best Blog - Talat Yaqoob, Women 50:50
“Just Ignore It”
Judges quotes: “This blog makes an elegantly constructed and illustrated argument about the virulence of misogyny experienced online by women, and women politicians in particular. Talat Yaqoob frames the argument around the advice of men to ignore this abuse either because it isn't worth a response or because we all "have bigger fish to fry" in domestic and sexual violence and FGM, for example. Yaqoob aptly names the silencing inherent in both pieces of advice, and the tweets used to illustrate her argument remind us just how dangerous a place public space is for all women.”
“Brilliant! A tightly written, evidence based challenge to how women experience gender-based violence online. The creative use of categories to guide the reader through the piece added to the impact of the blog.”
For Best Article Student and Young Person - Polly Smythe and Niamh Anderson, The Student
‘Domestic Abuse is happening at university. So why don’t we talk about it?’ http://www.studentnewspaper.org/domestic-abuse-is-happening-at-universi…
Judges’ comments: “Clear and economic prose.”
“Extremely well researched and evidenced and written in an engaging style.”

For Gender Equality Awards 2017: Creative Writing- Erin May Kelly
Three Poems
Page 63 – 65 https://writetoendvaw.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/2017-writetoendvaw-sh…
Judges’ comments: “Taking no prisoners in her work, Erin's poems are visceral and visual in a way that makes her work stand out from the crowd. She wants her readers to take notice of what's wrong with complicity and victim shaming and is succinct in doing so.”
“I love the immediacy of these poems and the use of evocative honesty. The writer has an impactful, stripped back style as she hits on the harassment and subjugation of women's lived reality.”

The Zero Tolerance Handle With Care Guide offers advice on various issues from interviewing survivors to providing relevant context and ensuring that violence is neither trivialised nor sensationalised. It available online at: http://www.zerotolerance.org.uk/resources/handle-care-media-guide
or can be requested in hard copy by emailing info@zerotolerance.org.uk