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Choosing a side of the story

Every story has (at least) two sides. As a writer, you can choose which side you are going to tell, or focus on – and that choice can have consequences.

A business can focus on the message ‘our product has these great features’ and sell a few products.

Or that business could focus on ‘our product can help you these ways’ and make more sales.

You can choose what to communicate, even on a simple topic

Yesterday, tens of thousands of people gathered together in Melbourne in memory of Jill Meagher, and for a better world.

For over a week, many people have discussed Jill’s disappearance and the discovery of her body – in blogs, tweets, Facebook updates, and more, as well as in mainstream media.

People are upset at what’s happened. What happened was awful and the person responsible must be stopped. Jill and her family deserve that, and respect and sympathy. As do all the other people, and their families, who have been raped and murdered.

I read a related tweet yesterday which clearly showed two sides to the story around Jill Meagher. Notunimportant tweeted “So frustrated by talk of protecting women instead of ending violence.”

Protect or prevent?stop violence message is my choice

We have a choice as a society – a choice of what to focus on and a choice of how to act.

We can protect our women, children and elderly.

Or we can work at creating a safer environment where they don’t have to be protected (at least not from other people).

Do we add more police, more security cameras and stop the vulnerable walking alone?

Or we do teach our children to respect and never hurt others, that violence isn’t a good way of life, to “use their words”?

A month or so ago, the gun debate heated up again in the USA.

I was really pleased at that time to read how our anti-gun laws and the buy back scheme in 1996 have made a difference – the reduced guns in our country had a positive impact.

What we communicate influences our world

I don’t want to teach my daughters to be scared and never go places alone out of fear. I prefer to teach children (my own and those I interact with) care and respect, along with anti-violent messages.

If we focus on protecting women, what are we teaching our daughters? What are we teaching that group of men who don’t respect women, and who think hurting women is okay?

If we focus on a ‘we won’t accept violence’ message, how will that impact on our daughters? What will that teach our sons?

Which side of the story will you choose?