The act for survivors of coming forward is crucial. That’s how we can learn about abuses all over the world and do something about it. But telling their stories can put survivors at risk for future harm.
Rape in the U.S. military, female protestors attacked across Egypt, Congolese women violated while going about their everyday lives - sexual and gender-based violence happens everywhere. We learn about it from brave individuals who tell us their stories and demand accountability and justice. But, viewers, journalists and filmmakers may not fully realize that these courageous interviews have the potential to re-traumatize survivors.
WITNESS has put together a simple, but useful guide on "Conducting Safe, Effective and Ethical Interviews with Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence." The illustrated guide is aimed at human rights activists, citizen witnesses, citizen and professional journalists and anyone else who might be conducting interviews with survivors. The tips are organized in stages: preparation for the interview, during the interview, and after the interview. Special attention is given to ensuring the safety and security of interviewees. The guide is about video and film interviews, but most of the advice can be used by print journalists as well. For example, asking open-ended questions that give your interviewee some control and giving them the last word (asking what they would like to add).
The guide is part of WITNESS’ Video for Change how-to series on filming safely, effectively and ethically, based on best practices established over the organization’s 20 years of training and supporting human rights activists to use video.
WITNESS uses video to open the eyes of the world to human rights violations. Since 1992, WITNESS has worked to empower people to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools for justice, promoting public engagement and policy change. The organization has worked in 90 countries and partnered with hundreds of organizations.