By Deb Waterhouse-Watson
Since footballer sexual attack turned most sensible information in 2004, six years after the 1st case used to be pronounced, a lot has been written within the information media approximately person situations, footballers and ladies who've intercourse with them. Deb Waterhouse-Watson unearths how media representations of contemporary sexual attack instances regarding Australian footballers quantity to "trials by means of media", trials that lead to acquittal. The tales instructed approximately footballers and ladies within the information media evoke stereotypes comparable to the "gold digger", "woman scorned" and the "predatory woman", which solid doubt at the alleged sufferers’ claims and recommend that they're mendacity. Waterhouse-Watson calls this a "narrative immunity" for footballers opposed to allegations of sexual assault.
This booklet info how renowned conceptions of masculinity and femininity tell the way in which footballers’ our bodies, group bonding, girls, intercourse and alcohol are portrayed within the media, and connects tales when it comes to the situations with activities reporting commonly. Uncovering related styles of narrative, grammar and discourse throughout those special but similar fields, Waterhouse-Watson indicates how those discourses are naturalised, with stories at the situations intertwining with broader discourses of soccer reporting to supply immunity. regardless of the superiority of news that discredit the alleged sufferers, Waterhouse-Watson additionally examines makes an attempt to counter those pervasive rape myths, articulating profitable techniques and elucidating the restrictions outfitted into journalistic practices, and language itself.
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Extra resources for Athletes, Sexual Assault, and "Trials by Media": Narrative Immunity
Rather than an explicit statement affi rming or denying guilt, frequently ‘the testimony concludes instead with a climactic account . . of what happened’ (233). Thus Noad’s assertion that ‘nothing happened’ contributes to the Point in the club and league’s overall narrative that the footballers are innocent, without the need to state it explicitly. Its coherence with other narratives and statements about the case generates semantic thickness, and makes this Point. As reported statements are generally brief, one of the most important ways in which they perform narrative functions is through the grammar and syntax employed to distribute blame and responsibility, as I explain below.
The judge in this case implicitly evoked the male sexual drive discourse (discussed in Chapter 4), which states that men’s sexual urges cannot be controlled, thus attributing his behaviour to an external force and removing his agency for it (57). Signiﬁcantly for this book, some studies have also demonstrated that the use of agency-obscuring grammatical tactics affects readers’ responses to the representation of (sexual) violence. For example, Nancy Henley, Michelle Miller and Jo Anne Beazley (1995) presented ﬁfty-four college students with mock news reports on crimes of violence against women, including rape, using both passive and active constructions to represent the violence.
Similar effects are produced when well-known footballers appear as characters in a narrative, and the mere fact that the alleged rapists are well-known footballers, and the alleged victims anonymous women, puts the complainants at an immediate disadvantage in terms of being believed. Many readers have pre-formed opinions about footballers, or feel that they ‘know’ them on some level. This relates to the anthropological concept of ‘personalised strangers’: fans do not know these celebrities personally, as in a reciprocal friendship, but know many personal details about them (Watson 1973).