Current research has yet to examine the phenomenon of rape culture, particularly within social media forums. The present study investigated the attitudes about rape, rapists, and gender-based violence within the comments section of newspaper articles reporting about rape and sexual assault. Naturalistic observation was used in order to gather statements within the comment sections following newspaper articles posted on either the periodical website or the periodical’s Facebook page. Four themes and various sub-themes emerged from the data. The major themes include, Victim Blaming and Questioning, Survivor Support, Perpetrator Support, and Trolling Statements about Law and Society. Notable findings were found in the amount of victim blaming statements made in the comments responding to articles (25.8 percent) and perpetrator support comments were found responding to every article collected, except for one. The authors discuss the implications of rape culture within and outside social media and suggest future research to be conducted to further understand the impacts of rape culture within the online sphere.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.