A content analysis into the framing and representation of 'corrective rape' in three South African newspapers.
“cor▪rec▪tive: intended to make something better” – The word has positive connotations as scientists and activists across disciplines spend their lives finding and developing remedies to problems which plague the planet. However, when coupled with sexual violence against especially black lesbians living in depressed communities, to describe a tool used to ‘rectify’ their personal identity, ‘corrective rape’ becomes an ironic misnomer as it is a term used to describe an act of sexual assault in an attempt to ‘rectify’ deviant lesbian or homosexual behaviour. ‘Corrective rape’ cases are growing and the reasoning varies from a misogynistic culture rooted in traditional perceptions of women faced with a new and emancipatory democracy, to alcoholism and homophobia. This study introduces a discussion on ‘corrective rape’, which necessitates a description of rape and the power relationships which enable its subsistence; the saturation and desensitisation of South African media and citizenry resulting in apathy is argued. The aim of this study is to investigate whether South African media reports on the issue of ‘corrective rape’ and if they report on it, how those reports are framed in an attempt to understand the linear communication and relationship of media-issue-audience. Agenda setting theory as well as Framing and Representation is presented as part of a critical paradigm and then applied in this study in order to understand the media’s representation of the issue of ‘corrective rape’.