News media perpetuates “rape culture”

By Nicole Bellford


A young woman participating in protest about rape culture. (Source: Chase Carter)

A recent study from the Association of American Universities states 27 percent of collegiate women will be sexually assaulted by the time they graduate.

While many blame the oppressor, perhaps it is necessary to trace the issue to an additional realm: the introduction of “rape culture” across the mainstream news media.

The Marshall University Women’s Center defines rape culture as “the use of misogynistic language and the objectification of women’s bodies, thereby creating a society that disregards women’s rights and safety.”

The La Verne Campus Times explains that news media promotes rape culture through a cycle of blaming the female victim and sympathizing with the male oppressor.

In Kirby Dick’s 2016 documentary, “The Hunting Ground,” sexual assault victim Erica Kinsman spoke out the mainstream media following her rape allegations towards Florida State University alumni and current NFL player, Jameis Winston in 2012.

Kinsman said that as the allegations reached the public eye, news sources were quick to highlight Kinsman’s blood alcohol content the night of the assault whilst praising Winston for his athletic accomplishments.

“All these people were praising him; they were calling me a slut, a whore,” Kinsman said.

In an ESPN broadcast on Nov. 14, 2013, commentator Stephen A. Smith expressed sympathy in light of the allegations.

“I think it is unfortunate that this young dude, with this Magic Johnson caliber smile, en route to win a national championship, and now this comes out,” Smith said.

In 2015, Stanford freshman and swimmer Brock Turner faced several sexual assault allegations after two bikers discovered Turner penetrating a naked woman behind a dumpster.

Turner’s rape victim explained that as she was scrolling through news articles about her assault, she saw a pattern in that Turner’s swimming times were included in several articles.

“By the way, he’s really good at swimming,” the victim said. “Throw in my mile time if that’s what we’re doing. I think the end is where you list your extracurriculars to cancel out all the sickening things that’ve happened.”

For the sake of media integrity, hopefully rape culture can make its exit from the same platform in which it made its debut.


This entry was posted in Blog Post, Broadcast Journalism, media ethics, rape culture, Social Media, Sports Journalism. Bookmark the permalink.

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