Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Amanda Miller

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Whiteacre


Violence against women, particularly sexual violence, is not a new phenomenon. However, recent years have seen a relative increase in education programs and awareness around sexual violence – what it entails, whom it affects, the impact it has, and how individual incidents relate to society as a whole (DeGue, Fowler, and Randall 2014). Both as a result of and as a contributor to the increased awareness around sexual violence against women, there seems to be greater news media coverage of the issue – covering specific, high-profile cases and covering the issue at a community or societal level (Lowenstein 2014).

When looking at sexual violence in society and how it is reported in the media, gender is a key factor. Gender is a complex social construct that influences social structures and institutions, with gender inequality existing across institutions (Ferree 2010; Risman 2004). Those gender inequalities have become so engrained as to feel natural, and as a result, many social institutions perpetuate those inequalities (Ferree 2010; Risman 2004). Sexual violence is one example of how engrained gender inequalities manifest across multiple social institutions, including mass media (Ferree 2010; Risman 2004).

Included in

Criminology Commons