The Post-Truth of Rape

Higgins, Kathryn Claire and Banet-Weiser, Sarah. 2024. The Post-Truth of Rape. In: Jayson Harsin, ed. Re-thinking Mediations of Post-truth Politics and Trust: Globality, Culture, Affect. New York: Routledge, pp. 43-60. ISBN 9781032484198 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Rape is three kinds of fact in one: it is an event, it is a kind of violence, and it is a structural expression of patriarchy and white supremacy. This chapter offers a re-reading of the concept of “rape culture” that emphasizes how the fact(s) of rape are constructed and suspended within a post-truth frame. Viewed in this way, both rape culture and the predicament of “post-truth politics” take on new complexity and valence. At the core of the post-truth of rape, we propose, are cultural efforts to maintain sexual violence allegations in an intractable state of irresolvability, so that they are rarely (if ever) resiliently established as ‘matters of fact’ in public life. These efforts have a long history, but also new innovations that demand critical attention. Using Virginia Giuffre’s highly-mediated public accusation of rape against Prince Andrew as a touchstone example, we discuss how the growing epistemic unease associated with digitally mediated public culture is compounding with (profoundly gendered and racialized) relationships of doubt, distrust, and disbelief in the present conjuncture, giving the post-truth of rape new sources of stability and resilience.

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Book Section

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“This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in ‘Re-thinking Mediations of Post-truth Politics and Trust: Globality, Culture, Affect’ on 28 December 2023, available online: It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.”

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


28 December 2023Published Online

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Date Deposited:

14 Feb 2024 11:35

Last Modified:

14 Feb 2024 15:36


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