Abstract: Race and Pedophilia

Lately, there has been a surge of crime documentaries and podcasts, such as “Making a Murderer” and “The Ted Bundy Tapes,” that document every detail of heinous crimes, and Americans are obsessed with them. Criminals don’t need anymore spotlight; their victims do. Therefore, the research question I hope to answer is, “How is racial identity of victims of pedophilia perceived and portrayed by the public and why?” This question is inspired by the documentary series about R. Kelly’s alleged decades of abuse, which claimed that his victims were ignored because of their race. Instead of studying R. Kelly and his celebrity status, I will study standard cases of pedophilia in America. They will need to be fairly well-known cases with enough publicity in order to study the public’s reaction. My research will mainly involve the history of pedophilia in America (legally and socially) and a content analysis of the public’s reactions to several pedophilia cases in newspapers and social media platforms. The result of this research will generate a new interpretation of victimhood and how the public contributes to victim trauma. I will present my research in the form of a podcast series in order to better reach neglected audiences. Victimhood is at the core of my research. Too often, victims are re-traumized through the criminal justice process and left invisible. I hope my research can change this in some way.

As a Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies major, I wanted my research to involve a current issue facing feminism. I believe this is one that is often overlooked. With the rise of technology and the internet, the public’s voice is more powerful than ever. Anyone from anywhere with internet access can become involved in the discussion. Most of these voice would never be heard otherwise. I am deeply interested with the emergence of online activisim and educating. It better encompasses the views of most of the population, regular people. This is the same reason I chose to produce a podcast. A podcast is academia for public consumption: easier to access and absorb. My research is about the public and for the public.


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