Portrayals of Violence Against Women in Television and Film

Whether its The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or Girls, or Game of Thrones, it seems that every TV and movie focused on women contains a scene of violence against women. The reality of violence against women in Canada is this:

  • Women are 5 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault than men.
  • The majority of sexual assaults reported to police are by individuals between the ages 15-24.
  • In 2007, 58% of sexual assault victims were under the age of 18, with children under the age of 12 making up 25% of this group. Of these young victims, 81% were female.
  • On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. In 2009, 67 women were murdered by a current or former spouse or boyfriend.
  • boriginal women in Canada are five times more likely than other women of the same age to die as the result of violence.vlcsnap-2013-08-29-15h13m39s211 (1)
  • 1 in 5 Canadian women experience some form of emotional or economic abuse in their intimate relationship.
  • In almost every province, 9 in 10 victims of spousal-perpetrated criminal harassment are women.
  • Only in one year, 427,000 women over the age of 15 reported they had been sexually assaulted in Canada.Since only one in ten sexual assaults is reported to the police, the actual number is much higher.

Statistics sources: here and here


Should filmmakers and tv producers care about these realities? If so, why–and what crosses the line? What does this mean for the women behind the camera who are writing scripts and directing films containing violence against women? Here to answer all your questions about portrayals of violence against women in film and television is a panel of experts in Vancouver including: 


Irene Lanzinger, BC Federation Women’s Rights Committee


Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director of Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS)


Jarrah Hodge, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Gender Focus 

Jarrah Hodge is the editor of the award-winning Canadian feminist blog gender-focus.com, which applies a gender lens to politics, news and media. She has also written for Bitch Magazine, the Vancouver Observer and the Huffington Post.

Hilla Kerner, Collective Member and rape crisis worker of Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter – the oldest Rape Crisis Centre in Canada.

Arlana Green,  Victim Services Medical Support Worker and a Rape Crisis Counsellor at Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre and Feminist Activist

Arlana Green is the Victim Services Medical Support Worker and a Rape Crisis Counsellor at Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) Rape Crisis Centre and is a Feminist Activist. Prior to that she volunteered and worked at a Transition House with women and children. Arlana has a background in TV and Film as a working actress and in various production roles. She is currently a painter/artist and develops art projects for children’s organizations in the Vancouver area. Arlana combines art and activism, finding opportunities to use art as a tool for awareness and healing.

Natalie Hill, core organizing member of Women, Action, and the Media Vancouver Chapter (WAM!) 

Natalie Hill is a feminist and media critic. She received a bachelor’s in journalism and communication from Carleton University, which left her with a whole host of questions about the ethics of media making. While pursuing a master’s in women’s studies at UBC, Natalie studied narratives about gendered violence on blogs and alternative news sites, and the ethical implications of re-telling the stories of survivors of sexual violence in conflict zones. This left her with even more questions. Natalie has written on the subject of media and violence against women for the F-Word, and has volunteered with various feminist and anti-violence organizations. She is a core organizing member of WAM! Van – Women, Action and the Media Vancouver.

Don’t miss out on what promises to be an exciting, informative, and engaging panel on a topic which is a first for the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. This panel is free and open to the public. It will be taking place Friday, March 7th from 1:00-2:30 pm at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre, with one hour for the panelists’ discussion and a half hour of questions from attendees.

Please note: we are looking to discuss film and television specifically and not other subsets of media (i.e., evening news reports, newspapers, video games, music, music videos, or pornography). This is because the mandate and mission of Women in Film and Television is just that–focused on film and television.

For more information please email Emily at wiftvoffice(at)gmail.com

1 thought on “Portrayals of Violence Against Women in Television and Film

  1. Pingback: Writing, Fashion & Feminism: Answers | The Closet Feminist

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