Covering rape: how the media determine how we understand sexualised violence

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The focus of this paper is a corpus study of the representation of rape in the mainstream quality press in the UK and a discussion of the broader social implications of such representation. This paper uses corpus analysis tools to study the discourse that surrounds the terms rape and raped and their collocates in a corpus of four British quality newspapers and compares the findings of the corpus analysis with corpus-external data (e.g. statistics on rape crimes, government reports, rape myths) to determine whether (and to what extent) the images foregrounded by the press in the corpus echo such contextual information. On the basis of this comparison, I argue that the representation of rape in the corpus reflects and reinforces dominant stereotypical understandings of rape rooted in patriarchal conceptualisations of gender roles and sexualities and perpetuated by established professional practices in mainstream journalism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGender and Language
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2019


  • gender
  • press
  • media discourse
  • rape
  • sexuality
  • language


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