Saturday, 16 July 2011

Rape prevention: next stop, Ofcom

[trigger warning]

So, following up on the advice from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to contact Ofcom, I've sent them the following message:

I am writing to ask for more information about two aspects of the Broadcasting Code.

Section 2.4 reads "Programmes must not include material (whether in individual programmes or in programmes taken together) which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour."

In Section 2.3 a distinction is drawn between "violence" and "sexual violence". Does Section 2.4 also forbid material which condones or glamorises sexually violent behaviour? If it does, would you consider making this explicit in the text the next time that the Code is revised, for the avoidance of doubt. If it does not, could you give me more information on the reasoning behind making this distinction in Section 2.4.

Section 3.1 reads "Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services."

Could you please give me more information about how Ofcom applies this section of the Code concerning crimes of sexual violence (rape, sexual assault, etc.) and what research on the psychology of sexual offenders and potential sexual offenders is used to inform Ofcom's policy in this area.

Thank you for your time

I'm going to try to suggest that section 3.1 should include rape-culture-promoting materials to a greater extent than it currently does, because of the encouragement and enabling environment they provide for rapists.

If you have any papers, studies, books, research, etc. that they should be taking into consideration on this, let me know and I'll add them to my next message to them. So far (and many thanks to commenter Glauke at Shakesville for pointing me at these) I have a few of papers and reports by the long-standing researcher of serial rapists, David Lisak, and a lot of references to look up:

If you have suggestions for other papers I should read or that Ofcom should be using in its judgements, especially in the area of the effect of rape-culture-supporting material on the behaviour and prevalence of serial rapists, that would be very useful - please leave ideas in comments.