Added: January 6, 2007 – Last updated: January 2, 2016


Author: Lisa M. Cuklanz

Title: Rape on Trial

Subtitle: How the Mass Media Construct Legal Reform and Social Change

Place: Philadelphia, PA

Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press

Year: 1996

Pages: 135pp.

Series: Feminist Cultural Studies, the Media, and Political Culture

ISBN-10: 0812233212 – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-10: 0812215591 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History | Cases: Offenders / Gary Dotson, John Rideout; Cases: Others / Big Dan's Tavern Case; Cases: Victims / Cheryl Araujo, Cathleen Crowell, Greta Rideout; Prosecution: False Accusations Laws, Wrong Convictions; Representations: Press; Types: Gang Rape, Marital Rape



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Author: Lisa M. Cuklanz, Department of Communication, Boston College


  Acknowledgments (p. vii)
  1. Introduction: why famous rape trials? (p. 1)
  2. A particular social reality: rape law and rape law reform (p. 14)
  3. Issue-oriented trials in the context of social change (p. 33)
  4. Mainstream coverage: trials as news events (p. 48)
  5. Popular re-presentations (p. 85)
  6. Conclusion (p. 114)
  References (p. 123)
  Index (p. 131)


»Why has so much of the public discussion of rape focused on a few specific cases, and to what extent has this discussion incorporated the feminist perspective on rape? Rape on Trial explores these questions and provides answers based on a detailed examination of the mainstream news coverage of the John and Greta Rideout marital rape case, the Big Dan's Tavern gang rape case, and the Webb-Dotson rape recantation case.
Lisa M. Cuklanz traces where and how rape reform ideas were granted legitimacy in mainstream news coverage. She finds that while the subsequent fictionalized versions frequently adopted the themes foregrounded in the news coverage, they usually were more sympathetic toward--and indeed often took on--the rape victim's point of view.« (Source: University of Pennsylvania Press)


Parry-Giles, Shawn J. »Image-based politics, feminism and the consequences of their convergence.« Critical Studies in Mass Communication 15(4) (December 1998): 460-468. Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Projansky, Sara, and Kyra Pearson. The Quarterly Journal of Speech 83(4) (November 1997): 476-477. Full Text: Taylor & Francis Online (Restricted Access)

Travers, Max. Discourse & Society: An International Journal for the Study of Discourse and Communication in their Social, Political and Cultural Contexts 10(3) (July 1999): 442-444. – Full Text: SAGE Journals (Restricted Access)

Wikipedia: History of the Americas: History of the United States | Law: Laws regarding rape | Types of rape: Gang rape, Marital rape | Rape in the United States: Cheryl Araujo, Gary Dotson, Cathleen Mae Webb