Rape on Trial: How the Mass Media Construct Legal Reform and Social Change

Rape on Trial: How the Mass Media Construct Legal Reform and Social Change

Rape on Trial: How the Mass Media Construct Legal Reform and Social Change

Rape on Trial: How the Mass Media Construct Legal Reform and Social Change

Synopsis

"Rape on Trial" provides insight into the different roles news coverage and fictionalized texts play in adjudicating between traditional views of rape and those advanced by advocates of rape law reform.

Excerpt

It is almost impossible to tune in to radio or television news or to pick up a newspaper without encountering a story about a trial whose arguments are unfolding in public view. Many of these public trials concern issues of gender: the role of women in traditionally male arenas such as military combat or popular team sports, the treatment or behavior women encounter in entering these spheres, and the progression of women’s legal rights to equal pay, equal work, and equal treatment under the law have all made headlines as a result of specific cases. Such cases highlight the significant and problematic nature of gender in contemporary culture and often become the subjects of popular fictions such as films or television specials. Gender issues have gained unprecedented prominence in our national discourses of politics, economics, and law. Is all this discussion moving us any closer to agreement or equality? The discussion of public trials is an important arena for airing arguments on all sides of controversial subjects, and national-level discourse on such issues enacts a sort of compromise between opposing viewpoints on issues of broad significance.

For several decades now, dedicated women and men have worked to eradicate the inequities in rape laws that once treated victims as criminals. Thousands of survivors of rape have testified to the profound dehumanization of trials that placed them under scrutiny, and thousands have worked to reform both laws and attitudes that rendered rape a virtually unpunishable offense. Scholars, researchers, reformers, politicians, and crisis workers have pooled their efforts to give voice to the painful experiences of women who for centuries found little justice within the judicial system. At present, many questions remain: To what extent have these efforts to be heard been successful? What is the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.