Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Applied Sociology (MAAS)


College of Arts & Sciences

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