Digitised Narratives of Rape: Disclosing Sexual Violence Through Pain Memes

  • Kaitlynn MendesEmail author
  • Katia Belisário
  • Jessica Ringrose
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


Drawing from contemporary “pain memes” found across YouTube and Tumblr, this chapter explores the creative ways the public communicates painful personal experiences of sexual violence in a digital age. Using the concept of platform vernacular (Gibbs et al. 2015), this chapter argues that digital platforms such as Tumblr and YouTube, which emphasise materiality, produce new vernacular practices that shape how “digitized narratives” (Mendes et al. 2019) of sexual violence are not only disclosed and known, but felt and experienced. These digitised narratives, we argue, have some potential to contest normative narratives of rape, and open up space for more nuanced and intersectional narratives to emerge.


Rape Affect Tumblr YouTube Feminism Pain meme 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaitlynn Mendes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Katia Belisário
    • 2
  • Jessica Ringrose
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Media, Communication and SociologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK
  2. 2.University of BrasiliaBrasíliaBrazil
  3. 3.University College LondonLondonUK

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