Appropriating the rights of women: Moral panics, victims and exclusionary agendas in domestic and cross-borders sex crimes

Selda Dagistanli, Sanja Milivojevic: Appropriating the rights of women: Moral panics, victims and exclusionary agendas in domestic and cross-borders sex crimes, in: Women’s Studies International Forum Volume 40, September–October 2013, Pages 230–242

Synopsis

In this article we focus on moral panic driven publicity and policy surrounding female victims of sexual assault and sex trafficking in Australian and international contexts. The case studies comprise a series of racialised gang rapes in Sydney, Australia between 2000 and 2004, and anti-sex trafficking campaigns around major sporting events including the 2006 World Cup in Germany and 2012 London Olympics. While heightened public awareness around the sexual victimisation of women is welcome, we also critique the sort of attention that these cases and their victims receive, questioning whether increased publicity and knee-jerk policies around certain sex crimes is genuinely based on the realities of women’s victimisation. We seek to demonstrate that moral panic driven attention for victims neither eases their suffering nor necessarily bolsters their rights while interrogating who does come to benefit from such “feminist” causes, and how we should begin to re-think our engagement with women’s victimisation.

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