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"During the second half of 2012, heightened scrutiny was applied to Republican politicians’ discussion of sexual assault. This wave of interrogation, though, began too late to affect the debates over the 2012 Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization. This paper will problematize these debates by analyzing the rhetoric of self-defense used by Republican legislators in the House of Representatives to defend their VAWA Reauthorization bill. By applying a feminist critical discourse analysis to the final VAWA Reauthorization debate held on May 16, 2012, this paper shows that the actions of the Republican legislators are rooted in a desire to protect the legitimacy of the Republican Party, not in a desire to protect survivors of violence. These debates over what rape is and which victims matter are emblematic of the problems faced in American politics when partisan lines become so rigidly defined."--Author's abstract. The PDF includes the author's entry submission essay for the 2013 Undergraduate Research Awards.


Winner, Junior/Senior category, 2013