Constructing Sexual Victimization: A Thematic Analysis of Reader Responses to A Literary Female-on-Male Rape Story on Goodreads

Danai Tselenti, Daniel dos Santos Cardoso, Joana Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Τhe aim of this study was to provide a detailed understanding of unprompted audience responses to a literary story of female-on-male rape on Goodreads. Thematic analysis of 429 reviews revealed 5 key themes and 16 sub-themes, which evolved around appraising the social function of the book, evaluating its literary features, assessing the depiction of female-on-male rape especially in terms of its perceived realism, as well as around a variety of explicitly emotional and cognitive responses. The esthetic features of the story proved to be of particular importance for shaping reader engagement. Reflective elaborations on the female rapist were found to constitute a marginal response pattern. Findings identified the existence of an overarching cognitive schema that construes sexual victimization as feminized and is linked to a tripartite pattern of comprehending female on- male rape (female-focused, gender-inclusive, gender-neutral). The study highlights the persistence of gendered rape myths structured around an “ideal victim” – “ideal offender” paradigm, which, however, co-exist with alternative responses oriented toward de-gendering sexual victimization. These findings suggest the importance of addressing audience responses in future investigations of female sexual violence (hands-on and hands-off behaviors) and pursuing an interventional agenda of more inclusive conceptualizations of victimization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-388
Number of pages15
JournalJournal Of Sex Research
Volume61
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2024

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