A Televised Social Problem Construction? Pushing Back Against the Invisibility of the Male Rape Victim in American Crime

  • Dimitris AkrivosEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


Building on the view of popular culture as a conduit through which social problems are defined, debated or even resolved (Maratea & Monahan, Social Problems in Popular Culture. Bristol: Polity Press, 2016), this chapter evaluates the contribution of fictional television to the demarginalisation of the male victim of sexual violence. The research adopts a case study design and offers an ethnographic content analysis of ABC’s American Crime. It highlights the blaming and stigmatisation of the male rape victim, the shortcomings of the dominant feminist framing of sexual victimisation as well as the failure of the criminal justice system to effectively handle male rape cases. The author concludes that ‘socially aware’ TV shows like American Crime could serve as a form of ‘edutainment’: they have the strong potential to push back against dominant male rape myths and offer a better insight into the victims’ experiences, getting audiences much more emotionally involved than pertinent factual sources of information.


Social problem Male rape Construction Framing Feminism Masculinity 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK

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