Joyful Heart in the News

Law & Order crime show battles rape myths: study

Nov. 19, 2015
The Star
Peter Edwards

The popular television drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit may be helping educate television viewers about rape and the importance of sexual consent, a newly-released study has found.

“Prime time television can do good,” Stacey Hust, The Edward R. Murrow College of Communication Chair at Washington State University, said in an interview.

“Responsible television programs can have some positive effects and still be entertaining,” said Hust, whose study was published this week in the Journal of Health Communication.

The study, called “Law & Order, CSI, and NCIS: The Association Between Exposure to Crime Drama Franchises, Rape Myth Acceptance, and Sexual Consent Negotiation Among College Students,” surveyed 313 American college freshmen.

It found that the show’s followers were less inclined than fans of other popular crime dramas to believe that if a woman is raped she is at least somewhat responsible for letting things get out of control.

“Our results indicate that specific crime-drama franchises are associated with decreased rape-myth acceptance,” the study states.


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