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The promotion and resistance of rape myths in an internet discussion forum.

Westmarland, N. and Graham, L. (2010) 'The promotion and resistance of rape myths in an internet discussion forum.', Journal of social criminology., 1 (2). pp. 80-104.


There is now widespread recognition in the UK that the problems faced in rape prosecutions cannot be dealt with solely through legal reform (HM Government, 2007; Rape Crisis Scotland, 2008; Temkin and Krahe, 2008) and that a societal shift in attitudes is needed throughout society. This recognition has led to a renewed interest in ‘rape myths’, defined by Burt (1980: 217) as ‘… prejudicial, stereotyped, or false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists’. This research uses qualitative data downloaded from an internet discussion forum linked to a television series shown in England and Wales called ‘The Verdict’ (where celebrities acted as jurors in a fictional rape trial). The data were used to investigate the ways in which rape myths were promoted, challenged and resisted. The findings were both pessimistic and optimistic - rape myths remained prevalent, but rarely if ever went unchallenged. Disturbingly misogynistic statements co-existed alongside feminist ones; the latter once would have been challenged as radical, but appeared to be generally accepted as mainstream views. By showing how rape myths are resisted, we suggest some emergence of ‘green shoots’ of change amidst an otherwise grey landscape.

Item Type:Article
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:22 April 2015
Date of first online publication:2010
Date first made open access:No date available

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