Remembering and Representing Victims in Research

Part of the Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology book series (PSVV)


Historically, women linked to prostitution have been represented pejoratively in media and crimino-legal discourses which persist in reinforcing marginality and stigma, and legitimating violence against sex workers. The early part of this chapter explores these concerns before drawing upon research findings from oral history interviews focusing on participants’ memories of victims. Here I present an alternative set of representations to remedy the invisibility and hyper visibility which often defines the framing of sex workers as victims. While research findings reveal the Othering of women with participants engaging in both conscious and unconscious victim blaming, accounts also highlight more in-depth and humanizing recollections often shaped by social and spatial proximity which connect women to locality and community.


Media representation Prostitution and stigma Sex workers as victims Invisibility and hypervisibility Oral history and memory Social proximity Spatial proximity Class and community 


  1. Baddeley, A. D. (1999). Essentials of Human Memory. Hove: Psychology Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Benedict, H. (1992). Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bland, L. (1992). The Case of the Yorkshire Ripper: Mad, Bad, Beast or Male? In J. Radford & D. E. H. Russell (Eds.), Femicide: The Politics of Women Killing. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cameron, D., & Frazer, E. (1987) The Lust to Kill. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  5. Caputi, J. (1987). The Age of the Sex Crime. Bowling Green: Bowling Green State University Popular Press.Google Scholar
  6. Carter, C., & Weaver, C. K. (2003). Violence and the Media. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Clarke Dillman, J. (2014). Women and Death in Film, Television and News: Dead but Not Gone. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  8. Corrigan, N. (2010, September 24). Vicky Wasn’t the Only One: Harrowing Stories of Teesside’s Other Tragic Vice Girls. The Evening Gazette.Google Scholar
  9. Crown Prosecution Service. (2010). Violence Against Women Crime Report. London: CPS; London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  10. Downing, L. (2013). The Subject of Murder. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gemignani, K. (2014). Memory Remembering, and Oblivion in Active Narrative Interviewing. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(2), 127–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gilman Srebnick, A., & Levy, R. (2005). Crime and Culture: An Historical Perspective. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  13. Greer, C. (2007). News, Media, Victims and Crime. In P. Davies, P. Francis, & C. Greer (Eds.), Victims, Crime and Society. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  14. Grele, R. J. (1998). Movement with Aim: Methodological and Theoretical Problems in Oral History. In R. Perks & A. Thomson (Eds.), The Oral History Reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Harrison, P., & Wilson, D. (2008). Hunting Evil: Inside the Ipswich Serial Murders. London: Sphere.Google Scholar
  16. Jewkes, Y. (2013). Media and Crime (2nd ed.). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Jiwani, Y., & Young, M. L. (2006). Missing and Murdered Women: Reproducing Marginality in News Discourse. Canadian Journal of Communication, 31, 895–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Keightley, E. (2008). Remembering Research: Memory and Methodology in the Social Sciences. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 13(1), 55–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kelly, L., Lovett, J., & Regan, L. (2005). A Gap or a Chasm? Attrition in Reported Rape Cases. Home Office Research Study. London: Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate.Google Scholar
  20. Kinnell, H. (2008). Violence and Sex Work in Britain. Cullompton, Devon: Willan.Google Scholar
  21. Lees, S. (1997). Carnal Knowledge: Rape on Trial. Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin.Google Scholar
  22. Lowman, J. (2000). Violence and the Outlaw Status of (Street) Prostitution in Canada. Violence Against Women, 6, 987–1011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lummis, T. (1998). Structure and Validity in Oral Evidence. In R. Perks & A. Thomson (Eds.), The Oral History Reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Miller, J., & Glassner, B. (1997). The ‘Inside’ and the ‘Outside’: Finding Realities in Interviews. In D. Silverman (Ed.), Qualitative Research: Theory, Method and Practice. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  25. Neisser, U. (1982). Snapshots or Benchmarks? In U. Neisser (Ed.), Memory Observed: Remembering in Natural Contexts. San Francisco, CA: W. H. Freeman and Co.Google Scholar
  26. O’Neill, M. (2010). Cultural Criminology and Sex Work: Resisting Regulation Through Radical Democracy and Participatory Action Research (PAR). Journal of Law and Society, 37(1), 210–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Penfold, C., Hunter, G., Campbell, R., & Barham, L. (2004). Tackling Client Violence in Female Street Prostitution: Interagency Working Between Outreach Agencies and the Police. Policing and Society, 4(4), 365–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Phoenix, A. (2008). Analysing Narrative Contexts. In M. Andrews, C. Squire, & Michael Tamboukou (Eds.), Doing Narrative Research (pp. 41–56). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Portelli, A. (1998). What Makes Oral History Different? In R. Perks & A. Thomson (Eds.), The Oral History Reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Reiner, R. (2002). Media-Made Criminality: The Representation of Crime in the Mass Media. In R. Reiner, M. Maguire, & R. Morgan (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Sanders, T. (2009). Controlling the Anti-Sexual City: Sexual Citizenship and the Disciplining of Female Sex Workers. Criminology and Criminal Justice, 9(4), 507–525.Google Scholar
  32. Sanders, T. (2016). Inevitably Violent? Dynamics of Space, Governance and Stigma. Special Issue: Problematizing Prostitution: Critical Research and Scholarship, Studies in Law, Politics and Society, 71, 93–114.Google Scholar
  33. Sanders, T., & Campbell, R. (2007). Designing Out Vulnerability, Building in Respect: Violence Safety and Sex Work Policy. The British Journal of Sociology, 58(1), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sapsford, R. (1996). Reading Qualitative Research. In R. Sapsford (Ed.), Researching Crime and Criminal Justice. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Seale, C. (1998). Researching Society and Culture. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Smart, C. (1989). Feminism and the Power of the Law. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Smith, J. (2013). Misogynies: Reflections on Myth and Malice. New York: Fawcett Columbine.Google Scholar
  38. Strega, S., Janzen, C., Morgan, J., Brown, L., Thomas, J., & Carriere, J. (2014). Never Innocent Victims: Street Sex Workers in Canadian Print Media. Violence Against Women, 20(1), 6–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. The Guardian. (2012, July 16). Rachel Wilson Murder: Body Found on Farmland Is Middlesbrough Teenager.Google Scholar
  40. Thompson, P. (1993). Family Myth, Models and Denials in the Shaping of Individual Life Paths. In D. Bertaux & P. Thompson (Eds.), Between Generations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Tuchman, G. (2000). The Symbolic Annihilation of Women by the Mass Media. In L. Crothers & C. Lockhart (Eds.), Culture and Politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  42. Underwood, M. (2006, February 8). Magic Book Ban on Kellie’s Killer. The Evening Gazette.Google Scholar
  43. Walkowitz, J. (1982). Jack the Ripper and Myth of Male Violence. Feminist Studies, 8(3), 542–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Walkowitz, J. (1992). City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Victorian London. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Walklate, S., McGarry, R., & Mythen, G. (2015). Trauma, Visual Victimology and the Poetics of Justice. In M. H. Jacobsen (Ed.), The Poetics of Crime: Understanding and Researching Crime and Deviance Through Creative Sources. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  46. Warkentin, E. (2010). “Jack the Ripper” Strikes Again: The “Ipswich Ripper” and the “Vice Girls He Killed. Feminist Media Studies, 10, 35–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wattis, L. (2017). Revisiting the Yorkshire Ripper Murders: Interrogating Sex Work, Gender and Justice. Feminist Criminology, 12(1), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Westmarland, N. (2004). Rape Law Reform in England and Wales (Working Paper No. 7). Bristol: School for Policy Studies.Google Scholar
  49. Wilson, D. (2007). Serial Killers: Hunting Britons and Their Victims 1966–2006. Hook, Hampshire: Waterside Press.Google Scholar
  50. Wilson, D. (2012). Late Capitalism, Vulnerable Populations and Violent Predatory Crime. In S. Hall & S. Winlow (Eds.), New Directions in Criminological Theory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  51. Wilson, D., Yardley, R., & Pemberton, S. (2016). The ‘Dunblane Massacre’ as a ‘Photosensitive Plate’. Crime, Media, Culture, 13, 1–14.Google Scholar
  52. Wykes, M. (2001). News, Crime and Culture. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  53. Wykes, M., & Welsh, K. (2009). Violence, Gender and Justice. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  54. Yallop, D. (1993). Deliver Us from Evil. Reading: Cox and Wyman.Google Scholar
  55. Yow, V. (1994). Recording Oral History: A Guide for the Humanities and Social Sciences. New York: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social Sciences, Business, LawTeesside UniversityMiddlesbroughUK

Personalised recommendations