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A critical discourse analysis on the social construction rape through the media

Donaldson, Isobel (2017) A critical discourse analysis on the social construction rape through the media. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Current research has shown that the mass media informs and shapes individuals perceptions of issues in society. In cases where the media reports rape it can consequently lead to victim blaming or precipitation as news often reinforces rape myths through its content and discourse. This investigation aims to research how news reporting contributes to the social construction of rape through their choices of discourse. A critical discourse analysis was conducted on a variety of UK on-line news sources dated between 2016-2018. During the analysis three themes were more prominent than the rest: drunk and asking for it, guilty until proven innocent and he is not the type to rape. All three themes illustrate victim-blaming tendencies and can lead to even narrower definitions of rape than the one expressed by the law, leaving readers with stereotypical perceptions of rape and a tendency to discount anything that does not fit that rape situation. This can lead to the non-reporting of rapes as well as lower conviction rates in court. Further research could look at the discourse used prior to and after a verdict has been reached in rape cases.

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