In 2018, I had worked as a student journalist on a research project titled Media Action Against Rape (MAAR). We analysed Indian media’s reportage of rape and sexual violence.
It was the first-ever internship of my life. And without any doubt, I got a lot to learn. The experience made me more confident of myself and my skills.
I applied theoretical knowledge in practical life.
I learnt rejection. An article on which I spent 15 days had to be scrapped at the last moment. The day we had to publish that article, we had over 4 hours of chat every 10-15 mins. I knew what was coming, I just didn’t want to say it out aloud to myself. After a lot of to and fro, when rejection came at 1 am in the night, I accepted it. Without any questions asked.
About five months after this, some team members met for a dinner. (I was meeting half of them for the first time as we were working from 10 locations across India.) My editor told me that the way I reacted to the rejection, he was impressed.
I had started reading sexual violence news reports as a human. Reading 60 reports in four days to submit my first article made me mentally exhausted and emotionally drained. After six months of active reporting and two more passive months, I became more conscious about the issue of sexual violence.
Fast forward to June 2020: I got a call during work. I was surprised. It was my editor. He told me that they’re working on a book on the research that we did.
In late August, I was holding the book in my hand.
Hold Your Story
Four articles have been contributed by me in the book.
I wanted to publish this post back in August, but I wanted to read all of it first. I wanted to catch up with what reporters who joined in the later phases did (I was a part of the first phase).
But I ended reading the book quite slow. One of the reasons is that it’s too much for my mental health. I don’t want to be drained emotionally again. Secondly, there’s too much of inputs that everybody has given. If I read it all in one go, my mind was not going to retain anything.
From interviews of journalists, NGO workers, LGBTQ activists, lawyer and doctor to analytical and opinion pieces, Hold Your Story is a book that talks about the media coverage of sexual violence in India, in different types of media and in several languages.
If you’re interested in reading Hold Your Story, click here.