What the face of TV justice. Photo via NBC
Hughes. A, 2016 Law & Order: SVU’ Is an Alternative Reality Where Assault Survivors Are Taken Seriously, http://www.vice.com/en_au/read/law-order-special-victims-unit-offers-women-justice-and-thats-why-i-love-it, viewed 1/9/2016
Problem Statement: We live in a society that encourages male sexual aggression and female objectification resulting in a culture that allows the occurrence of gender based violence on a mass epidemic scale.
I believe that the lack of specification in my problem statement accounts for the incoherent, confusing nature of my brainstorm results. Were I to make a second attempt at the task, I would make sure to address more specific audiences and stakeholders in my problem statement. Nevertheless my group members were quite receptive and helped me to generate a series of ideas that ultimately led to a targeted area of my issue. My group members asked me specific questions about what I wanted to achieve with my design task e.g. what tone, target audience, resources was needed by my chosen issue. Though I didn’t have definite answers to all of the questions, the group helped me to map specific problems and aspects that I wanted to address with my project. The rapid, fluid, free flow nature of the exercise also helped me to record any potential ideas that came to mind, even if they lacked structure and planning.
I had started with a vague direction of addressing how everyday language allows for attitudes that perpetuate male sexual aggression and female objectification. This problem had been recently addressed by the campaign “Violence against Women: Let’s stop it at the start” which resulted in a contemplation of a different direction. With this area of gender based violence I was able to develop design ideas involving data generation technology, heavily inspired by the lecture example of twitter bots.
The group discussed existing campaigns around the issue of gender based violence to help in inspiring more unique ideas that could challenge the current status of the issue. I mentioned my particular interest around the legal handling of sexual assault cases and its role in the issue of gender based violence. However since the justice system is such a complex, encompassing domain, I initially found it difficult to generate ideas that could allow for the confronting critique of judicial community. We eventually concluded that this subject focus would lend itself to data visualisation for its communicative versatility and its impact in yielding new, powerful shifts in conversations regarding social justice issues.
Not only was this a rather provocative route to address gender based violence, but it was also a rather unorthodox concept as there has yet to be a widespread critique of the judicial system in Australia’s understanding of the issue. I had some initial apprehension of whether to pursue this direction as the legal handling of sexual assault cases can be seen as a “post-attack” space and therefore such a focus would not contribute to the prevention of the attacks in the first place.
However after reflecting on the consequences of the judicial downplay of sexual assault, especially the low conviction rates I realised that it sends a subconscious but nevertheless powerful message about gender based assault: you can commit sexual assault if you’re willing to suffer a slap on the wrist. Whilst gender based violence is an obvious concern amongst any community, if the justice system is not willing to reprimand offenders, then this is just another mechanism for society to allow for institutionalized violence against women.