Full Project – Audience perception of the role of mass media in the fight against rape

Full Project – Audience perception of the role of mass media in the fight against rape

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1.1 Background to the Study

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority, or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability, or is below the legal age of consent. The term rape is sometimes used interchangeably with the term sexual assault. [Wikipedia].

The term rape originates from the Latin rapere (supine stem raptum), “to snatch, to grab, to carry off”. Since the 14th century, the term has come to mean “to seize and take away by force”. In Roman law, the carrying off of a woman by force, with or without intercourse, constituted “raptus”. In Medieval English law the same term could refer to either kidnapping or rape in the modern sense of “sexual violation”. The original meaning of “carry off by force” is still found in some phrases, such as “rape and pillage”, Burt [1980]

Rape is defined in most jurisdictions as sexual intercourse, or other forms of sexual penetration, committed by a perpetrator against a victim without their consent. The definition of rape is inconsistent between governmental health organizations, law enforcement, health providers, and legal professions. It has varied historically and culturally. Originally, rape had no sexual connotation and is still used in other contexts in English. In Roman law, it or raptus was classified as a form of crimen vis, “crime of assault”. Raptus referred to the abduction of a woman against the will of the man under whose authority she lived, and sexual intercourse was not a necessary element. Other definitions of rape have changed over time, Ohbuchi et al., [1985]

Until 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) considered rape a crime solely committed by men against women. In 2012, they changed their definition from “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will” to “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with anybody part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The previous definition, which had remained unchanged since 1927, was considered outdated and narrow. The updated definition includes recognizing any gender of victim and perpetrator and that rape with an object can be as traumatic as penile/vaginal rape. The bureau further describes instances when the victim is unable to give consent because of mental or physical incapacity. It recognizes that a victim can be incapacitated by drugs and alcohol and unable to give valid consent. The definition does not change federal or state criminal codes or impact charging and prosecution on the federal, state or local level; it rather means that rape will be more accurately reported nationwide, Retrived from New York Times, Feb. [2012].

Rape can be seen as a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without the persons consent. Rape is a form of sexual abuse, it is generally defined as a forced or non-consensual sexual act, regardless of the offender or the victim’s gender, age or sexual orientation, Ezeilo [2003]. Rape like all other illicit sexual acts, is usually done in secrecy so much that in some places it is regarded as the most unreported of all crimes, Oleribe [2002]; Ogunyemi [2000].


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Rape and rape related case have been under reported in the past by the mass media but recently, the media has taken it upon itself to give adequate reports of the cases of rape around the country.

To this aim, this study is targeted at the Audience perception of the role of mass media in the fight against rape.

1.3 Research Objectives

Due to the broadness of this topic, the following objectives were formulated to direct and guide the study they are:

(i) To examine how the mass media report rape issues in the past.

(ii) To ascertain the extent of coverage of rape related issues in Nigeria.

(iii) To find out the perceptions of Nigerians towards the report of rape issues in Nigeria.

(iv) To examine the influence of mass media in the reportage of rape and rape related issues in Nigeria.

(v) To find out the level of mass media report on rape issues currently.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated based on the research objectives of the study and they are;

(i) To what extent does the mass media report rape issues?

(ii) To what extent does the mass media cover rape related issues in Nigeria?

(iii) What is the perception Nigerians towards the report of rape issues in Nigeria?

(iv) What is the influence of mass media over the reportage of rape and rape related issues in Nigeria?

(v) What is the level of mass media report on rape issues currently?

1.5 Significance of the Study

Rape is currently on the rampage and many Nigerians (females) have fallen victims to this plague. This study therefore is aimed at viewing how the Nigerian audience looks and reacts to news concerning rape issues in the county.

The study also aims to educate Nigerians on the negative effects of rape to the society and want to emphasize that rape is a crime against humanity.

This study is also been carried out to serve as a resource material to those who would make use of it in the future.

1.6 Scope of the Study

The major objective of the project is to access the audience perception of the mass media in the fight against rape: a study of some selected rape victims.

The study itself has limited its scope to selected cases WITHIN Delta state.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

In the course of this study the researcher experienced some setback. A few of them are listed below

  • Respondents attitude towards questions was not encouraging due to the fact that majority were avoiding to give accurate information.
  • Another limitation was the inability of respondents to return completed questionnaires in due time.
  • Finance also contributed to the setbacks of this research as the researcher had to move from place to place in search of adequate information.

1.8 Definition OF Terms

The following terms are defined operationally;

Audience: A group of people within hearing, specifically a large gathering of people.

Perception: The conscious understanding of something by someone.

Role: The function or position something in an event or in the life of a person.

Mass Media: Collectively, the communications media especially television, radio, newspaper, and social media, that reach the masses/ Audience

Sexual Assault: A physical attack of a sexual nature on another person or a sexual act committed without explicit consent.

Victim: One that is harmed, killed, injured, subjected to oppression, deceived or otherwise adversely affected by someone or something, especially another person or event, force or condition in particular.

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Full Project – Audience perception of the role of mass media in the fight against rape