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Social Media And Impact Of Audience Responses To Domestic Violence Against Women (A Study Of Lil Frosh And Girlfriend)

ABSTRACT

This research was carried out to analyse social media and impact of audience responses to domestic violence against women, while focusing on the case of Lilfrosh and his girlfriend as its study. The survey research method was used with questionnaire as instrument of data collection. After the field survey, it was discovered that respondents make use of social media platforms like; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp, Youtube and others. It was concluded that social media users come across domestic violence issues on social media and are familiar with the domestic violence issue that involved Lilfrosh and his girlfriend. The study revealed that respondents are of the notion that social media frame issues of domestic violence either positively or negatively, social media is creating awareness about issues of domestic violence and social media users reaction to issues of domestic violence have effect on how it is portrayed. The following recommendations were also made; it is recommended that social media framing should address domestic violence from a human interest angle by highlighting the consequences of domestic violence on individuals, family and society at large as this will make audience make meaning and respond to domestic violence issues from human interest parlance, social media framing should be devoid of attribution of blame framing, name calling framing as these influence audience meaning making and responses to domestic violence framing. And lastly, social media framing of domestic violence should be done in a way to make audience have respect for family values in the meaning they make of such stories in their responses to domestic violence narratives.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1      BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Domestic violence against women is a global infestation that transcends boundaries and occurs in all cultures and societies around the world. Different societies across the world have had a long history of male domination, in which women were taught to obey their husbands and accept their submissive roles, a reflection of the strong patriarchal traditions of the Balkans (Gjipali & Ruci, 1994).

The use of social media tools such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, You Tube and other blogging sites have become part of the daily lives of millions of people. There are millions of social media user in different part of the world particularly amongst youth which is the world’s fastest growing and largest segment of social network users in the world.(Internet World Stats, 2012)

Around the globe, social media tools have helped fuel social movements, social media has been shown to strengthen social actors’ ability to challenge and change power relations in society, providing platforms for debate, reflection, influencing and mobilizing people. There is growing international interest in the portrayal of violence against women on social media and the impact that reporting may have on social media users’ attitudes and behaviours. It has been known for some time that different contents on social media influence public perceptions and play a substantial role in how people understand certain societal problems, including gender based violence. Numerous studies have shown an association between depictions of violence against women on social media and users’ attitudes and perceptions. This indicates that who or what is posted on social media and how those individuals and events are portrayed can have a profound influence on people’s attitudes and beliefs, particularly around attributions of blame and responsibility (Carlyle, Orr, Savage, & Babin, 2014; Flood & Pease, 2009; Palazzolo & Roberto, 2011).

Domestic violence has become a pervasive social problem globally as 38% of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners, 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, while 28.5% of men have experienced physical/sexual intimate violence (Carlyle, Scarduzio & Slater, 2014; World Health Organisation, 2017). Domestic violence according to Cole (2018) is any act of physical aggression, sexual coercion, psychological/emotional abuse or controlling behaviour by a current or former partner.

As a social problem in Nigeria, studies have shown that domestic violence is rooted in culturally-constructed gender roles. Manful, Appiah & Gyasi-Boadu (2016) identified the gender roles given to men in general to include income provider, family authority and rightful property owner. Undermining these gender roles create tension and conflict between men and women such that women question the actions of their husbands or refuse to act in a certain manner, it can be considered as undermining men‟s authority whilst also directly challenging women‟s expected role. In recent times, social media have become tools for the reportage of domestic violence just like they are used to report other stories in our communities. When social media report events, they often employ frames to give meanings to their reportage with a view to shaping public opinion. Social media framing are cognitive make up through which individuals interpret and organize  the select and highlighted information (Scheufele, 2004; Nicely, 2007; Aalberg, Stromback & De Vreese, 2011).

Without gainsaying, there has not been much on domestic violence against men, as studies have shown that there has been a focus on domestic violence against women while little had been done on women perpetrating domestic violence against men (Morgan & Chadwick, 2009; Douglas, Hines & Straus, 2014; Muchemi, 2015). Recently, incidents and reports on social media of women perpetrating domestic violence against men have indicated a shift in perpetration of domestic violence. This study is aimed at analyzing how social media framing of domestic violence influences audience response to domestic violence against women.

Social media representations of violence against women have been found to generate stereotypes and myths about “real” and “deserving” victims (Custers & Van den Bulck, 2013). Portrayals may be simplistic, misleading, and overly reliant on clichéd and “archetypal characters” as “ancient as they are inflammatory”; the seductress, the victimised man and the man-hating woman (Mead, 1997:7). Bullock (2010) and other feminist theorists suggest the media tend to position violence against women as isolated incidents, rather than as a wider problem taking place within a social context marked by male dominance and not “as a cause and consequence of gender inequality” (Cerise&Dustin, 2011:14-15). Indeed, a focus on a perpetrator as a social “outsider” creates the impression that violence against women is a rare action by a deviant individual, rather than the widespread social problem as measured by global crime victim surveys (Devries et al., 2013).

 

1.2      STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The issue of domestic violence against women is a very sensitive topic that people tend to turn a blind sight at despite it being rampant in our everyday society. Social media on the other hand over time has proven to be a very useful tool with track record of it being used to draw people’s attention to various controversies happening in the society. There are times in which the use of social media to tackle certain issues in the society have turned out to be positive and at other times negative. Therefore, this research is aimed at analysing social media and impact of audience responses to domestic violence against women.

 

1.3      RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The research seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the frequency of coverage on domestic violence against women on social media?
  2. What are the patterns of frames used in audience responses to domestic violence against women on Social Media?
  3. What is the direction of audience responses to domestic violence against women on social media?
  4. What are the effects of audience responses to domestic violence against women on social media?

1.4      OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

  1. To determine the frequency of coverage on domestic violence against women on social media.
  2. To examine the pattern of frames used in audience responses to domestic violence against women in social media.
  3. To determine the direction of responses to domestic violence against women on social media based on gender.
  4. To determine the effects of audience responses to domestic violence on social media.

 

1.5      SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The research becomes significant to the following people in the following ways:

Women: this research will be specifically significant to women as it is aimed at researching on a phenomenon that affects them in their everyday life.

Social Media Users: social media users will also get to benefit from this research as it will expose them to the dynamics involved in responding to certain social media contents, most especial that of violence against women.

Researcher: this reseaerch will also be useful to those who may be willing to research on this field as a guide source of materials, towards achieving it aims and objectives.

 

1.6      SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study is to analyse social media and impact of audience responses to domestic violence against women, while focusing on the case of Lilfrosh and his girlfriend as its study.

 

1.7      LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

Scarcity will be a limitation in conducting this research work. The researcher, being a student has so many academics issues to attend to apart from this study, this makes time another factor that will serve as a limitation in conducting this study. Financial constraint is another major limitation in the process of carrying out this research work.

1.8      DEFINITION OF TERMS

Social Media: social media is a means of connecting people that allows for peer-to-peer interaction, and gets people talking with each other on a mass scale.

Impact: this is the result or the outcome of a particular cause. It is the impression left on the mind or sensation produced as a result of exposure to something.

Audience: this refers to a group of people within hearing; specifically a large gathering of people listening to or watching a particular thing.

Response: this refers to an answer, reply or reaction or something in nature of an answer, reply or reaction to something.

Domestic Violence: this is the type of violence committed in a domestic setting such as in marriage or cohabitation.

Women: this refers to an adult female human.

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