gal-dem’s very own Zahra Dalilah has been shortlisted for the End Violence Against Women Media Awards.

The inaugural accolades hosted by End Violence Against Women (EVAW) coalition, aims to recognise and celebrate the “very best” of journalism that covers violence against women and girls in the media. The awards hope to encourage investment in stories that are sensitive, fair and create public debate.

The World Health Organisation reported in 2013 that an estimated 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. Within that figure, according to The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, one in five black women in the U.S. will experience rape at some point in their lives.

Shortlisted in the opinion category, Zahra Dalilah’s piece, titled Nate Parker Defenders: Racism is real, but so is rape culture, explores the nuances between racism and rape culture.

Dalilah explores these issues in the wake of recent controversy surrounding black film director, Nate Parker, who was acquitted of the charge of raping an unconscious woman in 1999. Speaking to the the Guardian, Parker addressed the past allegations and said: “I never thought about consent as a definition, especially as I do now”.

Dalilah poignantly writes about her reaction to Parker’s case writing: “My shock was ill-founded because I know that a black man who stands up for black people doesn’t always stand up for black women.”

Co-founder of EVAW, Rachel Krys, spoke to gal-dem about the role of the media in covering rape and violence against women.

Krys said that the media is “incredibly essential” to both how survivors of violence are treated, and the way the criminal justice system operate. She added that the recent coverage of high profile sexual assault catalysed the move to create the EVAW awards.

“We are swimming in a pool where a lot of this stuff is negative and harmful and the way the media talk about this stuff is central,” she said.

“It is really important to highlight the good practice as part of the way that there is a lot of bad stuff out there and it’s not helpful and that really motivated us. We can’t stand on the sidelines.”

Journalist and awards chair Joan Smith also explained why these awards are needed: “These awards have been created to recognise those journalists and editors who, despite the prejudice that still exists towards victims, report on violence against women in a sensitive and constructive way.”

The EVAW received over 150 entries across seven categories. The awards will be judged by both journalists and experts on violence against women and girls. The winners will be announced on Friday 25 November; the same day as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls.

To view the shortlist and find out more about Ending Violence Against Women, click here.