Review of Women's Studies, Vol 21, No 2 (2011)

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Discourse and Rape: An Analysis of a Trial Proceeding

Venus Papilota Diaz

Abstract


This essay offers a linguistic perspective to understanding secondary victimization in a rape trial by adopting Gricean principles, speech act theory, and Hymes' theory of context as key concepts of pragmatics to rape discourse and attempt to locate power and gender relations in socially-situated courtroom interactions. The first section discusses rape myths as forms of secondary victimization of women rape complainants in the courtroom while the second section includes foreign studies that deal with issues of reproducing and representing rape through language use. The last section presents an analysis of extracts of courtroom interaction to serve as an illustration of the viability of analyzing discourse in understanding secondary victimization of women rape complainants.