Added: January 3, 2015 – Last updated: February 21, 2015


Speaker: Carrie Doan

Title: Child Sexual Abuse as Gendered Violence

Subtitle: A Critique of Media Coverage of Child Sexual Abuse in the US and Britain

Conference: Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association: After Critique: What is Left of the Law and Society Paradigm? (May 27-30, 2010)

Place: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Date: May 29, 2010

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century, 21st Century | English History, U.S. History | Representations: Press


Link: -


Abstract: »This paper compares media constructions of the problem of child sexual abuse in the US and Britain, focusing on how various political actors shape media frames of the issue, which in turn fuel divergent policy responses to the problem. I will use my own frame analysis of US news media coverage of child sexual abuse from the time period 1995-2007 and a frame analysis conducted by Jenny Kitzinger over a similar period of time in Britain, in order to identify the political movements, institutions, and actors that shape the construction of this problem in the national news media of these countries. In particular, both Kitzinger's and my analysis focus on an historic shift in news reporting of the child sexual abuse as an element of a larger women's rights agenda to a more conservatively framed and institutionally defined social problem in both the US and Britain. While Kitzinger's analysis identifies specific frames of backlash in response to the problem of child sexual abuse, particularly with regard to claims of incestuous abuse, my analysis identifies a more subtle shift in focus on the types of abuse under scrutiny by the news media, away from family abuse and towards abuse by Catholic priests and generalized anxiety about stranger abuse. In both countries, media coverage of child sexual abuse appears to be dominated by institutionally defined frames of the problem, such as those offered by psychological, social service, and criminal justice professionals, which often discredit or silence understandings of the problem proffered by survivors themselves and women's rights organizations. In Britain, this has lead to a scaling back of interventions to aid incest victims. In the US, there appears a (misguided) redirection of energies into the prevention of stranger abuse, but also a survivor driven response the problem of abuse by clergy.« (Source: All Academic Research)

Wikipedia: Child sexual abuse