2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Examination of Rape Coverage Through an Exploration of Communitarian Thought and Kant's Categorical Imperative
Sandra J. Montgomery
Dr. Karon Speckman, Faculty Mentor

Victims’ concern for privacy may be the reason why sexual crimes are the most under-reported to authorities. While the legal issues surrounding rape-victim identification within the media have been settled, media outlets continue to struggle with the ethical issues surrounding the naming of victims. This research uses ethical justification systems to analyze media policies. The research found that communitarians would classify rape as a societal problem and argue that all information surrounding the incident should be relayed to the community. Followers of Kant’s categorical imperative argue that journalists have no right to invade the privacy of an individual by disclosing this information. The research finds that to ethically serve the individual and the community rape victims should be allowed to decide if their name is published in a story regarding the incident. Media outlets can use the information within this research to establish policies regarding rape-victim identification.

Keywords: Rape, Media, Policy, Communitarian, Kant

Topic(s):Communication

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 39-2
Location: VH 1320
Time: 2:30

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