Added: July 13, 2013 – Last updated: April 6, 2019


Author: Deb Waterhouse-Watson

Title: Athletes, Sexual Assault, and "Trials by Media"

Subtitle: Narrative Immunity

Place: New York and London

Publisher: Routledge

Year: 2013 (hbk., ebk.), 2014 (pbk.)

Pages: 238pp.

Series: Routledge Research in Sport, Culture and Society 22

ISBN-13: 9780415658386 (hbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9781138807464 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat | ISBN-13: 9780203076071 (ebk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Modern History: 21st Century | Oceanian History: Australian History | Representations: Television / 21st-Century Television; Types: Rape



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Author: Deb Waterhouse-Watson, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies, Macquarie


  A Note on Terminology (p. ix)
  Acknowledgements (p. xi)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    Football and Sexual Assault on the Australian Public Agenda (p. 2)
    Hidden Myths (p. 4)
  1 The Story of Rape: Narrating Sexual Assault Involving Footballers (p. 8)
    Reading Narratives, Reading Grammar (p. 10)
      The 'Nuts and Bolts': Narratology Basics (p. 16)
    I Blame You: Grammar, Syntax and the Distribution of Responsibility (p. 18)
    Predatory Women, Groupies, Gold Diggers, Women Scorned and Party Girls (p. 20)
    Rape Narratives, Negotiating Gendered Stereotypes (p. 26)
  2 Narrative Immunity: Patterns of Deflecting Blame (p. 34)
    Harmless Fun: Roy Masters' Bad Boys (p. 35)
    Immunity in the Media (p. 46)
    Self-immunisationn (p. 50)
    All Women are Sluts (p. 55)
  3 Narrative Exile: Silencing the Feminine (p. 57)
    Speech and Silence: Two Sides of the Same Coin? (p. 58)
    A History of Silence (p. 59)
    Victim Silence: A 'Différend' (p. 62)
      The Struggle to Speak (p. 68)
      Silencing the Victim (p. 70)
      'Only' Joking! (p. 72)
    Erasing the Victim, Erasing the 'Perpetrator' (p. 73)
    Conclusion (p. 76)
  4 The Male Footballer's Imaginary Body: Legitimating Sexual Violence (p. 77)
    Football Sexual Culture and the Male Sexual Drive Discourse (p. 79)
      Blame It on Biology (p. 84)
    The Footballer's Imaginary Body: Promoting and Legitimating Sexual Violence (p. 85)
    Injury Reporting: The Grammar of Indestructibility and Blame (p. 93)
    Conclusion (p. 99)
  5 Rape Is Not a Team Sport: Militarism, Alcohol and Team Bonding (p. 100)
    Degrading the Feminine and Other Bonding Activities (p. 101)
      When Consent Doesn't Matter (p. 104)
      An Attitude Problem or the Masculinity Police? (p. 107)
      'Just' Words? (p. 109)
      Against Outsiders: 'Galvanising' a Football Team (p. 111)
    Football and the Military (p. 114)
    Narratives of Drinking: 'It Was the Beer...' (p. 119)
    Conclusion (p. 125)
    Postscript: Andrew Lovett, the Outsider Who Proves the Rule (p. 126=
  6 The Official Story: Bad Apples, Heroes, and (Naughty) Little Boys (p. 130)
    The Official Documents (p. 131)
      Respect and Responsibility (p. 132)
    The NRL's 'Playing by the Rules' Project (p. 137)
    From the Mouths of CEOs (p. 143)
    Education: 'Making Sure the Boys Know What's Right and What's Wrong' (p. 150)
    Conclusion (p. 154)
  7 Fighting Words: Alternative Strategies for Narrating Sexual Assault (p. 155)
    Validation as 'Genre' (p. 156)
    Reporting the Story: Journalists Negotiate Gendered Stereotypes (p. 159)
    Framing the Victim: (Re-)Presenting Complainants' Testimonies (p. 162)
    Testifying on Television (p. 166)
      Frames of Belief: 'Fair Game' and 'Foul Play' (p. 168)
      Breaking the 'Code of Silence'? (p. 175)
    Conclusion (p. 178)
  Conclusion: Breaking the Différend (p. 180)
  Afterword: The End of an Affair (p. 185)
  Appendix 1: Reported Cases of Footballer Sexual Assault, 1998-2011 (p. 187)
  Appendix 2: Tables of Cited Television Programs (p. 191)
  Appendix 3: AFL and NRL Clubs and Nicknames (p. 195)
  Appendix 4: Glossary of Australian News Outlets (p. 197)
  Notes (p. 199)
  References (p. 215)
  Index (p. 231)

Description: »Since footballer sexual assault became top news in 2004, six years after the first case was reported, much has been written in the news media about individual cases, footballers and women who have sex with them. Deb Waterhouse-Watson reveals how media representations of recent sexual assault cases involving Australian footballers amount to "trials by media", trials that result in acquittal. The stories told about footballers and women in the news media evoke stereotypes such as the "gold digger", "woman scorned" and the "predatory woman", which cast doubt on the alleged victims’ claims and suggest that they are lying. Waterhouse-Watson calls this a "narrative immunity" for footballers against allegations of sexual assault.
This book details how popular conceptions of masculinity and femininity inform the way footballers’ bodies, team bonding, women, sex and alcohol are portrayed in the media, and connects stories relating to the cases with sports reporting generally. Uncovering similar patterns of narrative, grammar and discourse across these distinct yet related fields, Waterhouse-Watson shows how these discourses are naturalised, with reports on the cases intertwining with broader discourses of football reporting to provide immunity. Despite the prevalence of stories that discredit the alleged victims, Waterhouse-Watson also examines attempts to counter these pervasive rape myths, articulating successful strategies and elucidating the limitations built into journalistic practices, and language itself.« (Source: Routledge)

Wikipedia: History of Oceania: History of Australia / History of Australia since 1945 | Sex and the law: Sexual assault