In a society where crimes against women are often neglected, it is the job of the media to report rape cases responsibly and with utmost priority so that it receives a sense of outrage, that it inculcates a feeling amongst the masses that such a crime should never be allowed to be committed again, and it invokes pressure on the government to pass laws to prevent and erase the rape culture that exists.

It is important to remember however that there is a big difference between reporting details of a rape case to foster a national call of accountability, and sensationalising brutal details of the case for ratings and quick publicity.

The details of the Kashmore rape case are absolutely horrifying. The rape of a woman and her minor daughter should cause public revulsion on an unprecedented scale. While it should be reported on thoroughly, the media and the public should also be cognisant of the fact that the victims have gone through an unimaginably heinous and harrowing experience, and should be dealt with the utmost sensitivity and empathy.

Unfortunately, as we have seen in previous rape cases, this case too has been sensationalised in ways that overstep journalistic ethics. Videos of the victims, including the minor, showing their faces and scars, are being circulated around social media. Quickly produced writings and articles are being published which use incorrect terminology, stating that an “incident occurred”, rather than reporting that a “rape” has been “committed”. Phrases like “committed rape with her” are inaccurate and deeply inappropriate, since they appear victim-blaming.

The most important priority after such a case is to prosecute the culprit and protect the victims. In these circumstances, the victims are rarely in a mental state to give consent to their identities and faces being plastered on videos and news stories. The law protects the identities of rape victims, particularly minors. It is hoped that the media, and the public, express outrage and demand accountability, but do so in a way that protects the victims and their privacy, is sensitive to their trauma, and does not discourage other victims from coming forward.