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Rape in the News: Media Portrayals of Rapists, Victims and Rape in New Zealand

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dc.contributor.author Mitchell, Katherine Jane
dc.date.accessioned 2009-04-14T22:09:22Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-17T21:21:23Z
dc.date.available 2009-04-14T22:09:22Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-17T21:21:23Z
dc.date.copyright 2001
dc.date.issued 2001
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/22078
dc.description.abstract In this study, four rape cases afforded high profile coverage by the New Zealand news media were analysed to reveal the media's understanding of rape. The cases were chosen for their ability to highlight different aspects of the offender, victim or crime. In line with the international literature on which it builds, this study notes a significant disparity between the media's portrayal of rape and women's realities of sexual violence. Women's typical rape experiences involve incidents in which the woman knows the rapist and does not suffer excessive physical violence. Conversely, media accounts of rape typically involve strangers and extrinsic violence. Furthermore, when the media does cover acquaintance rapes, the model of the violent stranger rape is used as the yardstick against which truth and seriousness are measured. Acquaintance rape is rarely held to be as serious as 'real' (violent stranger) rape, and aspects of victims' behaviour and character are scrutinised for clues to her credibility. Media representations of rape are therefore informed by ideological assumptions regarding gender appropriate behaviours. These stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity are used to underpin explanations of rape. The credibility of both offenders and victims relies on being perceived as existing within these constructs. A victim's transgression of feminine norms means that coverage is likely to be less supportive of her, and the rape is assumed to be less significant. An offender's failure to fit the masculine stereotype means he is more likely to be configured as a 'real' rapist. The media's understanding of rape is thus underpinned by the dominant discourse, in which rape is ungendered, infrequent, and associated with monster-like men, quite unlike 'normal' men. This study situates the media as supportive of the status quo in which rape is one tool of the "social control of women." en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Rape in the News: Media Portrayals of Rapists, Victims and Rape in New Zealand en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ

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