Publication Date

4-15-2010

Advisor(s)

Sarah Carney

Major

Psychology

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Newspapers both reflect and reinforce dominant societal norms and cultural beliefs. The way newspapers portray instances of rape impacts the public’s understanding of sex crimes. This study analyzed newspaper coverage of rape and sexual assault, focusing on the types of rapes that were covered and the language used to describe the victim, the perpetrator and the crime itself. Over 200 articles from United States newspapers were reviewed. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to explore the narratives that newspapers construct about rape. The results indicate that reporters use different language and writing styles, depending upon the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim and the circumstances surrounding the crime. It is important to increase public awareness of bias in the media in order to ensure community support for all victims of rape and equal treatment in the criminal justice system for perpetrators.

Included in

Psychology Commons

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