Siren: A Novel and Exegesis Exploring Sexual Violence in Australian Rules Football

[thumbnail of MATTHEWS Rachel - Thesis_Redacted.pdf]
MATTHEWS Rachel - Thesis_Redacted.pdf - Submitted Version (1MB) | Preview

Matthews, Rachel (2016) Siren: A Novel and Exegesis Exploring Sexual Violence in Australian Rules Football. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


This thesis examines fictional representations of sexual assault (and specifically rape) in novels that are set within or explore as a central theme the culture of Australian Rules football (termed ‘Australian football’). This thesis comprises two components: an exegesis and a novel, Siren. The exegesis is an examination of the way sexual assault in Australian football culture has been approached by the Australian media, and Australian adult novels written between 1964 and 2013 in which Australian football culture is a central theme. The exegesis is also an exploration of the challenges of writing about sexual assault and rape, and of representing women’s voices in a male-dominated sporting culture. It contributes to a wider discussion about the challenges of writing fiction that explores sexual assault and rape in an androcentric context such as Australian football. The novel component, Siren, addresses these issues through various narrative techniques, including narratological perspective shifts between four main characters, exploring the problems associated with the mistreatment of women in Australian football culture, particularly in terms of sexual abuse and misogynistic attitudes. At the centre of the novel is the rape of a young woman, Jordi, and the effect of the rape on Jordi’s life, her family and Max, a footballer whose team mate is the rapist. An important consideration in the development of literature concerned with women’s sexual abuse, particularly rape, is a narrative that does not misrepresent the experience of women, but rather reveals the unimaginable horror of the event in a believable and realistic way. The novel makes an original and significant contribution to this body of literature since it has a young woman as one of the main protagonists and emphasis is placed on her experience of rape. Importantly, contrary to the majority of writing in this area, the novel is set off the field to highlight the effect of football culture on the wider community. This transfers the emphasis from the players on the field to broader social environments connected to the game.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Arts
Keywords Australian Rules Football, violence, sexual violence, women, Australian football culture
Download/View statistics View download statistics for this item

Search Google Scholar

Repository staff login