A Discursive Investigation into Victim Responsibility in Rape
Title: A Discursive Investigation into Victim Responsibility in Rape
The concept of victim responsibility has assumed a central place within psychological research into perceptions of rape. Research repeatedly reports that victims may experience secondary victimization and perpetrators may receive light sentences or even be absolved of the crime. Despite new policies and practices in the UK in respect of rape crimes, attrition rates remain extremely high. This article examines victim responsibility in the talk of convicted sex o fenders and those who work with them. Twenty-three interviews were conducted with professionals and paraprofessionals who work with sex o fenders. The taped therapy sessions of a prison treatment group were the source of perpetrator talk. Discourse analysis identified the existence of two discourses; the discourse of desire and the discourse of commonsense. Separately and together, these discourses served to attribute some responsibility to the victim and to conceptualize rape as sex.