Athletes, Sexual Assault, and "Trials by Media": Narrative by Deb Waterhouse-Watson

By Deb Waterhouse-Watson

Since footballer sexual attack grew to become most sensible information in 2004, six years after the 1st case was once said, a lot has been written within the information media approximately person instances, footballers and girls who've intercourse with them. Deb Waterhouse-Watson finds how media representations of contemporary sexual attack circumstances related to Australian footballers volume to "trials through media", trials that lead to acquittal. The tales advised approximately footballers and ladies within the information media evoke stereotypes comparable to the "gold digger", "woman scorned" and the "predatory woman", which forged 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 ebook information how well known conceptions of masculinity and femininity tell the way in which footballers’ our bodies, crew bonding, ladies, intercourse and alcohol are portrayed within the media, and connects tales in terms of the instances with activities reporting typically. Uncovering comparable styles of narrative, grammar and discourse throughout those specific but similar fields, Waterhouse-Watson indicates how those discourses are naturalised, with experiences at the situations intertwining with broader discourses of soccer reporting to supply immunity. regardless of the superiority of reports that discredit the alleged sufferers, Waterhouse-Watson additionally examines makes an attempt to counter those pervasive rape myths, articulating profitable innovations and elucidating the constraints outfitted into journalistic practices, and language itself.

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The grammatical resources code relationships between entities, thereby constructing representations of how the world works . . If only one clause in a whole text is involved it may not be very significant, but as a patterning of grammatical meaning across a text, or even a number of different texts . . [my italics] it becomes very significant. (1994, 20) This is of particular importance for my work, as I am concerned with the way grammatical structures are repetitively used to deflect blame away from footballers, representing their immunity against allegations of rape as simply ‘how the world works’.

17 The description of the victim’s state that occupies the fi rst part of the sentence is therefore not presented as an allegation, but works to add truth-value to the claim of rape. By systematically foregrounding particular events selected from the fabula pool, and de-emphasising others, McKenna constructs the complainant’s character as a Party Girl: one who is out to have a good time, consume large quantities of alcohol, and is therefore also out for sex. McKenna both emphasises and inflates the complainant’s use of alcohol and habitual ‘partying’, while eliding or erasing entirely the footballers’ drinking.

For example, Masters details an incident where one player performed a ‘helicopter’—making his penis into a propeller— to the enthusiastic applause of watching wives. Thus wives are portrayed as complicit in their husbands’ behaviour and either openly supporting it or turning a blind eye and giving tacit approval. Having thus established the wives’ acceptance, Masters allows concern for the supposed danger that Predatory Women pose to players to be voiced through some of these Narrative Immunity 39 women.

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