Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Sociology, Anthropology & Criminal Justice; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Dina Pinsky

Abstract

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a long-running fictional crime drama centering on “an elite squad” (NBCUniversal 2019) of detectives. While the show touts a progressive image, it has been previously found to victim-blame, stereotype, and contain rape myths (Brinson 1992; Rader and Rhineberger-Dunn 2010; Rader, Rhineerger-Dunn, and Vasquez 2016). For the present study, I examined how intimate partner violence (IPV) myths are represented in episodes of Law & Order: SVU. I conceptualized IPV myths for use in this study using Peter’s (2008) Domestic Violence Myth Scale. It was found that characters on SVU overwhelmingly support myths more often than they oppose them. The suggestion of IPV myths in fictional television can have serious negative consequences for real-life victims.

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An Elite Squad?: Intimate Partner Violence Myths in "Law & Order: Special Victim Unit"

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is a long-running fictional crime drama centering on “an elite squad” (NBCUniversal 2019) of detectives. While the show touts a progressive image, it has been previously found to victim-blame, stereotype, and contain rape myths (Brinson 1992; Rader and Rhineberger-Dunn 2010; Rader, Rhineerger-Dunn, and Vasquez 2016). For the present study, I examined how intimate partner violence (IPV) myths are represented in episodes of Law & Order: SVU. I conceptualized IPV myths for use in this study using Peter’s (2008) Domestic Violence Myth Scale. It was found that characters on SVU overwhelmingly support myths more often than they oppose them. The suggestion of IPV myths in fictional television can have serious negative consequences for real-life victims.

 
 

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