Covering Rape in the Media
Option 1: Traditional Research Paper
A 2012 report released by the Center for Disease Control states that one in five women will be raped in their lifetime. The way the media handles these crimes is very important. Many stories about rape are problematic. The stories are not as impartial as many journalists would like to think that they are. Rape is a serious issue and it is not treated as well as it should be, it is often misrepresented in the media. Looking at several studies done by experts, the mistakes that are made with the coverage of rape can easily be seen.
News outlets have to be responsible with what they chose to print. One topic they have to be careful with is rumors about rape. People will often see these rumors as factual information, when they lack actual factual information about the subject.Even if the new outlet later reports that the rumors are untrue, people still have a tendency to believe them. A study done at Winona State University found that an increase in media attention, even if the reports are just rumors and the reader are told this, the articles will have “further bolstered the perceptions of high crime rates on campus.” This study found that even if people were aware that the story was talking about rumors and the rumors were denied by the university, the concerns about campus safety still increased. This type of behavior on college campuses can be a problem because how the media “portrays campus crime may influence perceptions of crime more than actual crime statistics.”
One of the most common problems with the coverage of rape, is that many stories written about the crime include at least on rape myth. Rape myths are defined as “generalized and widely held beliefs about sexual assault or suggest that a sexual assault did not actually occur.” Rape myths can be against the victim, who is usually a woman, or for the perpetrator, who is usually...