Posts Tagged ‘Monster imagery naming news media rape myths sexual violence victim blaming’

Monsters, playboys, virgins and whores: Rape myths in the news media’s coverage of sexual violence

August 16, 2012

From Language and Literature

Much of the news media’s coverage of sexual violence perpetuates myths and stereotypes about rape, rapists and rape victims. It is common for the media in such cases to portray rapists as monsters, beasts or perverts and women as promiscuous. This study textually analyses newspaper accounts of three rape cases, two from the USA and one from the UK, each of which represents a different type of sexual violence, to ascertain whether or not they disseminate rape myths. In these cases the majority perpetuated rape myths: through victim blaming or the myth of the sociopathic rapist. In all three cases analysed, the impact of the attacks on the victims was largely overlooked, which had the effect of trivialising the crime. Media coverage can shape public opinion and reinforce stereotypes. The study recognizes the consequences of offering a misleading representation of sexual violence, it may influence the definition and understanding of rape by the public, police, and members of the court. This study concludes that in order to combat the problem of sexual violence, the news media must provide accurate examples of rape that do not fit preconceived notions or conform to myths. Only through doing so can the media begin to address the wider societal issues that contribute to this crime.

(more…)


%d bloggers like this: