A person was raped, who is the agent?

Media, sexual violence and agency





ideology, Media Discourse, sexual assault, #MeToo movement, syntactic agency


This paper focuses on media coverage of cases of sexual assault committed by public figures in the Québec cultural landscape who were publicly accused by their victims over the course of two #MeToo movements. We consider the four cases of: Gilbert Rozon, Éric Salvail, Julien Lacroix, and Maripier Morin. While the former two cases have been to court, the latter two have not. We are interested in how the media talk about the sexual assaults committed, specifically the lexical items and patterns of syntactic agency, depending on whether the case was prosecuted or not. Our data consist of the headline and first paragraph of articles published about the cases in three influential francophone newspapers in Québec. We argue that the media coverage of the sexual assault cases analyzed reinforces the ideology that sexual assaults in prosecuted cases are more credible and severe than those that are not prosecuted in court.


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How to Cite

Laplante, M., Dupuy, A., & Nault, S. (2023). A person was raped, who is the agent? Media, sexual violence and agency. Working Papers in Applied Linguistics and Linguistics at York, 3. https://doi.org/10.25071/2564-2855.30




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