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Of Victims and Survivors: Representing Collective and Individual Rape Trauma

Newman, Geneveive (2024) Of Victims and Survivors: Representing Collective and Individual Rape Trauma. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The female victim-survivor of sexual and gendered violence is seldom theorized in scholarly accounts of such violence on screen. The presumed audience for much scholarship in the fields of film studies, feminist studies, and trauma studies as they intersect with cultural production is one that must first be informed of the horrors of rape and abuse, must be touched by a film in a way that they have not been in real life. This dissertation, by contrast, assumes that the audience for representations of rape and abuse in cultural production—literary, poetic, filmic, to name a few—has personal, lived experience with sexual and gendered violence. By theorizing media through the rape victim-survivor, and then creating media based on that theory, this dissertation and accompanying film work to disrupt common-sense notions of who is and is not allowed to speak as a victim, how victim-survivors are constructed and exist in the world, and what possible ways forward may exist in the realm of imagining better futures. I begin with a study of rape in cinema, surveying the 1910s and ‘20s forward, with case studies from the 1960s and ‘70s rape-revenge film cycle. From there I expand out to analyses of current fiction film trends, poetry (written and spoken word), music, art, documentary, and memoir. This dissertation closes on a discussion of digital media and where representations of rape victim-survivors intersect online with real-world conditions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Newman, Geneveivegrn16@pitt.edugrn160009-0009-2478-9687
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLowenstein, Adamalowen@pitt.edualowen
Committee MemberMajumdar, Neepanmajumda@pitt.edunmajumda
Committee MemberPettersen, Davidpettersen@pitt.edupettersen
Committee MemberAnderson, Mark Lynnandersml@pitt.eduandersml
Committee MemberKeown, Bridgetkeown.b@pitt.edukeown.b
Date: 10 January 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 November 2023
Approval Date: 10 January 2024
Submission Date: 26 November 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 124
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Film Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sexual violence, film studies, horror film, media studies, activist film
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2024 14:37
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 14:37


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