Since sex has always been a private and sensitive topic in China, it is rarely discussed in people's daily life. Based on that context, public understanding of sexual assault is largely shaped and influenced by news reports and popular discourses. However, a journalistic discussion of sexual assault cases and relevant research on media are suppressed by multiple factors, especially when those involve complex power issues and may affect institutional reputation. Research in media and sexual violence has yielded many significant results in Western academia; however, in China, the issue has only begun to be aired in the media, not to mention media research on sexual violence. The significance of my research is to address this in the Chinese context. It will not only contribute to the literature on Chinese journalistic narratives of sexual violence. Still, it will advance scholarly understanding of how the Chinese media reports sexual assaults and why that is politically and culturally significant. My study aims to explore how sexual assault against women and girls is reported within a particular Chinese context. The research questions include 1. How do Chinese journalists in differing institutional contexts – i.e. national and commercial news outlets, construct narratives about sexual assault against women and girls? 2. Is the gender of a journalist a contributing factor to how they cover sexual assault? 3. How is their coverage of sexual assault topics influenced by workplace practices within news agencies?
Siyu has been a GTA for the undergraduate module ‘Cultivating a Sociological Imagination’ (2021-2022). She is an Associate Fellow of the HEA.