Relaunch of media content warning database

Unconsenting Media: a search engine for sexual violence in broadcasting

CN: abuse, sexual assault

The database, Unconsenting Media, created by Cambridge student Rosa Payne in April 2017, has been relaunched as a web search engine for sexual violence in media and broadcasting.

As well as users being able to search specific titles, the platform enables users to submit films and television shows where there have been depictions of rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, or other cases where consent is not given or violated.

Payne launched the project in order to give users the ability to avoid upsetting content.

The updates have been made under the leadership of Samantha van Staden, working alongside the creator of doesthedogdie.com, a website which lists movies and television shows where something specific happens, providing the answers to questions, such as ‘Does the dog die?’ in certain shows.

‘Information and Resources’ pages have now been added to the website in order to make the project’s aims clear as well as providing educational resources about consent.

The website states that, ‘Rape and sexual assault need to be discussed. Discourse regarding the ways that we, as a society, think about and approach issues of consent is crucial. There is nothing to be gained by silencing real stories which are relevant to the lives of millions. Media such as films and television shows provide an excellent platform from which discussions can be started and questions raised.’

‘Unconsenting Media is a non-profit organisation which advocates for a responsible and conscientious approach to this necessary discussion which puts survivors at the forefront.’

Speaking to TCS, Van Staden said: "The premise of the project was relatively simple from the beginning: survivors of rape and sexual assault - as well as everybody else - deserve access to the resources necessary to make informed choices about which media they engage with. Since that point, the project has developed and changed in a number of ways. 

"The most significant difference is that the project is now run from a dedicated website, which has improved the project’s functionality and accessibility. The primary features of this website are a searchable database and a streamlined submissions system.

"Although the team has worked hard to research and curate a good number of films and television shows with which to launch the website, however, its comprehensivity will ultimately rely on submissions from the public. Consequently, we hope to build up a good number of active users who take the time to make submissions to our database when they see that something they’ve watched isn’t already listed."

The creators of Unconsenting Media are also looking to launch a blog in the future to carry on the discussion about consent in film and TV.

Van Staden added: "We are currently in the process of recruiting bloggers to make this a reality. Looking to the future, our primary goals are to reach ever-larger audiences who might benefit from access to Unconsenting Media and to work on improving the services we offer."

Van Staden also intends to organise student events in Cambridge and hopefully expand to other UK universities in order to reach out to a wider range of people. 

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