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How the Media Shapes Attitudes About Rape  

Author:  R. Clifton  Spargo, Ph.D..; Anne K.  Ream, B.A..

Source: Volume 04, Number 04, Spring 2012 , pp.317-324(8)

Family & Intimate Partner Violence Quarterly

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This article examines the media’s persuasive power in shaping people’s attitudes and reactions towards rape. Citing examples from several high profile sexual assault cases, authors R. Clifton Spargo and Anne K. Ream explain the subtle and not-sosubtle ways in which the media have sent distorted if not outright false messages about a problem that has reached epidemic proportions. They note, for example, instances in which news reports have referred to women reporting rape as the accuser rather than as the victim, or when media stories mention the term “Gray Rape” when questioning the truth of a victim’s claims (such as with date rape). Suggesting that the proliferation of online media outlets has only widened the impact of these negative messages, the authors outline ways in which the media could use their platform to, instead, add to the protection and safety of rape victims.

Keywords: Time, Newsweek, William Kennedy Smith, rape shield laws, Kobe Bryant, survivor, victim, Voicesandfaces.org

Affiliations:  1: rcliftonspargo.com; 2: The Voices and Faces Project.

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