Rape is rape (except when it’s not)

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This chapter contributes to a body of research in which media reports of violence against women are analyzed for the ways they gloss precisely what it is that constitutes ‘violence against women’ in the event under report. To catch this glossing in flight, as it were, mediated reports of violence are conceptualised as recontextualisations; that is, reports that may differ in rhetorically consequential ways from those provided by victims of, or witnesses to, that violence. A mediated stylistic analysis of press reportage of the charges of rape made against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, in 2010, subsequently shows that and how Assange’s allegedly violent actions were recontextualised such that their status as violent was readably downgraded, mitigated or even deleted. The chapter ends by calling for more attention to be paid to the various techniques of recontextualisation via which reports of violence against women are presented in the media.


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