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Browsing by Author "Mikkola, Aliisa"

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  • Mikkola, Aliisa (2018)
    The main purpose of this thesis was to describe rape myth prevalence in tabloid news online discussion; to describe the most common types of rape myths, rapes, rapists (e.g. ‘them’ and ‘us’) and victims (e.g. the naughty victim/ ideal/ innocent victim). Also, specific types of talking was analysed in order to identify meanings in talk that blames the victim (e.g. “questioning talk”) – also, talk that opposes mythical rape talk was analysed (“Against the myth”). As the main material, were comments (or texts) retrieved from articles discussing rape cases, as the source was a UK based tabloid news site The Daily Mail Online. Through establishing themes and categories for rape myths, rapes, rapists and victims, the material (user comments) was organized and analyzed – with help from tools ’borrowed’ from Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Linguistics. Theories by Barthes, Fairclough, Butler and Halliday were applied for theoretical explanations. The following rape myths by Brownmiller and the Schwendingers’ were used as themes for categorization: “No woman can be raped without her will/ Rape is impossible”, “Rape is about sex/ Rape is caused by uncontrollable male sexuality/ imbalance in sex ratio causes rape”, “She was asking for it”, “If you’re going to be raped, you might as well relax and enjoy it”, “Rape in marriage is not that serious” and “Crying rape as an instrument of vengeance aka the ‘rape lie’”. The victim types were categorized as so; “the raped wife” (this victim type was not discussed as a separate victim type, but instead in relation to the myth of “rape in marriage is not that serious”), “the underage victim/ victim traveling alone” and “a victim traveling with a boyfriend/ a victim out alone and drinking”. Whereas the rapist types were grouped to themes of “the husband”, “the stranger”, and “the police officer”. The main conclusion summed up to a notion that mythical rape talk does prevail regarding certain victim types, especially “the raped wife”, “the underage victim”, “victim traveling alone” and “victim out alone and drinking”. Rape myths were identified in almost all article discussions, however only few victim types were considered as ‘innocent victims’ - the partly paralyzed woman in a hospital bed and a young girl raped during daytime. The innocence of these victims is reliant on the fact that no commenting was found that indicated to a use of a rape myth. In addition, rape as a form of structural violence was debated and gender norm associations with sexuality and with rape myth evolvement was in the center of this discussion, for example while discussing the habits in teaching girls how to ‘not get raped’. The notion of rape being a gendered social construct was found to be in the core of rape myth use, for example as a habit of encouraging towards a better internalization of so-called ‘rape avoidance strategies’.