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Gatekeeping Rape Culture: Kenyan News Coverage of Sexual Abuse and Femicide

Mulupi, D. & Blumell, L. ORCID: 0000-0003-4608-9269 (2024). Gatekeeping Rape Culture: Kenyan News Coverage of Sexual Abuse and Femicide. African Journalism Studies, doi: 10.1080/23743670.2024.2328524


This study examined how social institutional and social system level forces influenced Kenyan news coverage of the rape and murder of Sharon Otieno, and the subsequent arrest of a high-ranking politician charged in the case. It interrogates source use, personalization of the victim and alleged perpetrator, and use of rape culture (victim blaming, dismissing the event, threats to victim and surrogates) and anti-rape culture (support for the victim and mention of the systemic problem of sexual abuse and male power dominance) in the news coverage. Content analysis (N = 621) found official sources, particularly men, dominated the news as sources. While both men and women news sources used rape myths, women sources predominantly engaged in anti-rape culture. In-depth interviews with editors (N = 23) demonstrated how bribery by politicians and patriarchal cultural norms work in concert to sustain rape culture in news content.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in African Journalism Studies on 1 April 2024, available at:
Publisher Keywords: anti-rape culture, bribery, femicide, gatekeeping, rape culture, sexual abuse
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity
School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Gatekeeping Rape Culture_noncopyright.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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