Monday, December 12, 2011

Newspaper strikes blow against domestic violence with two-part series on victim, monthly feature

In Hickman County, Tenn., one in five calls to the sheriff's office involves domestic assault. This led Editor Bradley Martin of the Hickman County Times to begin searching for a domestic violence victim willing to share her story. On Nov. 21, starting a two-part series, Martin ended his 15-year search and provided readers a glimpse into the severity of domestic violence - quite literally.

The paper reported on the 2007 domestic assault of Shannon Beasley, complete with a striking front page photo of her injuries. In the first part of the series, the Times took a closer look at Beasley's relationship with the accused, the events that led up to the abuse and finally her rescue on March 24, 2007. The second part focused on the resulting trial and Beasley's path to recovery.

Martin said Beasley's attorney approached the paper, saying his client wanted to get the word out about what had happened to her. In January, the Times will start publishing a monthly "Survivor Story" with the assistance of a new coalition known as No Excuse. "The coalition believes it has victims who are ready to stand up, by name and photo, and tell their stories," Martin explained in an email.

1 comment:

Vanessa Davis said...

Ms. Beasley's courage and willingness to share her story is an inspiration to those of us who work with victims and survivors of domestic abuse, as well as to the victims themselves.

The article in the Hickman County Times rightly focused on the actions of David Heankin rather than those of his victim; the first time he hit Ms. Beasley he didn't stop beating her for four days.

Brad Martin's work on covering domestic violence in the Hickman County Times is a crucial component to raising awareness about this controversial subject and the dangers of ignoring or excusing abusive behavior.

Thank you for continuing to raise awareness with this post.

Vanessa Davis,
Women Are Safe Executive Director