Violence Against Women in News Report Narratives

  • Jane Monckton Smith


There have been concerns expressed by scholars of news media that journalists do not act in a socially responsible manner or with a strong code of ethics when reporting sexual violence and that journalistic culture in this respect is problematic (Carter and Weaver 2003, Greer 2003, Howe 1998, Carter 1998, Soothill and Walby 1991). Much research tells us that the news media misrepresent sexual violence against women to a significant degree (Greer 2003, Carter 1998, Howe 1998, Soothill and Walby 1991) both in the amount of coverage which is dedicated to apparently atypical events and the narrow framing of the narrative. Carter and Weaver (2003) argue that most journalists operate without a clearly defined framework of ethics when covering violence and as a result reporting may contribute to ‘public misunderstandings, of the complexities of violent situations’ (2003:22) and they state that:

Cameron and Frazer (1987) argue that representations of sexual violence are endemic to Western culture, having roots deeply embedded in patriarchy. In their view, the popular press has long drawn upon a traditional (male) fascination with sexual violence symbolized by figures like Jack the Ripper in the nineteenth century and Peter Sutcliffe (The Yorkshire Ripper) in the 1980s.(Carter and Weaver 2003:36)

As has been noted in Chapter 1 it is difficult to pin down exactly what sexual violence is and Howe’s (1998) argument that violence against women is ‘sexed’ rather than sexual may account for the disproportionate amount of ‘sexual’ violence reported.


Sexual Assault Sexual Violence Rape Myth Sexual Motivation Serial Killer 
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Copyright information

© Jane Monckton Smith 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jane Monckton Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural and Social SciencesUniversity of GloucestershireUK

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