Dr Deb Waterhouse-Watson

  • PhD (Monash University), BA (Hons, Monash University), BMus (Violin, Monash University), AMusA (violin, AMEB)

    I completed my undergraduate and postgraduate studies at Monash University in 2009, and taught at Monash and Deakin universities before taking up my current position in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies. My research is broadly interdisciplinary, uniting Media, Communications, English and Law through discourse and narrative analysis. My book, based on my PhD thesis, is on the representation of footballer sexual assault in the Australian media, was published with Routledge in 2013. I am currently a member of the Research Unit in Media Studies (RUMS), Research in Literary Studies (RiLS), the Sìdhe Literary Collective and Fairy Tale Reading Group.

  • My book, Athletes, Sexual Assault and ‘Trials by Media’: Narrative Immunity has just been published with Routledge New York.

    book cover 

    Read the blurb:

    Since footballer sexual assault became top news in 2004, six years after the first case was reported, much has been written in the news media about individual cases, footballers and women who have sex with them. Deb Waterhouse-Watson reveals how media representations of recent sexual assault cases involving Australian footballers amount to “trials by media”, trials that result in acquittal. The stories told about footballers and women in the news media evoke stereotypes such as the “gold digger”, “woman scorned” and the “predatory woman”, which cast doubt on the alleged victims’ claims and suggest that they are lying. Waterhouse-Watson calls this a “narrative immunity” for footballers against allegations of sexual assault.

    This book details how popular conceptions of masculinity and femininity inform the way footballers’ bodies, team bonding, women, sex and alcohol are portrayed in the media, and connects stories relating to the cases with sports reporting generally. Uncovering similar patterns of narrative, grammar and discourse across these distinct yet related fields, Waterhouse-Watson shows how these discourses are naturalised, with reports on the cases intertwining with broader discourses of football reporting to provide immunity. Despite the prevalence of stories that discredit the alleged victims, Waterhouse-Watson also examines attempts to counter these pervasive rape myths, articulating successful strategies and elucidating the limitations built into journalistic practices, and language itself


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