Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

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First published: October 1, 2023 - Last updated: October 1, 2023


Speakers: Brianna Caprio, Anne Mahar and Helen Marie Miamidian

Title: The Role of Television in the Perpetuation of Rape Myths

Subtitle: A Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Content Analysis

Conference: 74th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology: Institutions, Cultures, and Crime (November 14-17, 2018) - Online Program

Session: 293. Perceptions of Rape and Sexual Assault (Chair: Chivon H. Fitch)

Place: November 14, 2018

Date: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century, 21st Century | American History: U.S. History | Types: Rape; Representations: Films / Law & Order: Special Victims Unit


Link: -


Speakers: - Anne Mahar, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, Arcadia University

- Helen Marie Miamidian, Department of Social Transformation, Eastern University

Abstract: »Rape myths play a role in the depictions of on-screen rape, and the showcasing of these harmful beliefs leads audiences to accept rape as a form of sexual violence against women. Crime dramas are prime candidates for rape-related storylines, and Law & Order: SVU was chosen because it fixates on sexually based offenses. This study presents the results of a content analysis of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episodes for portrayals of rape, rape victims, and presence of rape myths. Episodes were chosen based on relevance and those relating to rape picked out. Three genres of rape storylines were established, acquaintance rape, stranger rape and campus rape. Episodes were then coded by themes emerging within storylines, as well as the presence of rape myths. Major findings include: a) the presence of multiple rape myths in each of the episodes; b) the questioning of victim's stories in most every scenario; and c) the insinuation that the victim was responsible for, or lied about, their own attack. Findings suggests portrayals of rape are still heavily dependent on the existence of rape myths.« (Source: Online Program)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States | Television: American crime drama television series / Law & Order: Special Victims Unit | Television: Rape in fiction | Sex and the law: Rape / Rape in the United States