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date: 23 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews research on linguistic representations of sexual violence in the media and the legal system, illustrating how such representations can be informed by broader ideologies of gender and sexuality. In reviewing this literature, the chapter demonstrates, in particular, how discourses of normative heterosexuality help to give meaning to representations of sexual violence. The text then turns to a case study of the 2013 Steubenville (Ohio, U.S.A.) rape trial in order to show how the social media evidence in this case, specifically the photographic evidence, was able to unsettle these discourses in ways that the more typical “he said/she said” evidence of sexual assault trials may have had (more) difficulty doing.

Keywords: sexual violence, rape trial, representations, normative heterosexuality, social media

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