Rape, Attack, Abuse, Assault: Representations of Women in the Far-Right using Corpus Linguistics

edl word cloud


In this post, I’m using a corpus of postings on Facebook by supporters of the EDL to study how women are constructed in far-right discourse. I’m using Sketch Engine, and in particular Word Sketch, a function which provides detailed collocational information of search words.

women and children

This post focuses on the words woman and women. When I looked at collocates which are the object of woman / women, the following table was obtained:

object of women


The collocates appear to suggest a high degree of negativity associated with women, a great deal of violence and oppression as the collocates include: rape, treat, attack, stone, cover abuse, assault, oppress, hate, marry, insult, see. Other collocates not shown above include force and beat, which further empathize the discourse prosody of violence, oppression and victimization which is associated with women in discourses produced by members and supporters of far-right ideology

In this post, I’ll  focus on the concordance lines of the more frequent collocates.







The concordance lines present a certain amount of context to the collocational information. In the first set of concordance lines there appears to be a discussion as to whether white men rape women, or whether this can be an issue for which Muslim men are solely responsible. The notion that women are victims appears to be accepted. The second set of concordance lines construct women as being treat badly by Asian men, and the third set depicts women as being defenseless and victims of physical attack.


muslim women


Word Sketch can also provide information of the modifiers of search words. The most common modifiers of women are as follows:

modifier of women

white women 2

muslim women 2

Both white women and Muslim women are constructed as victims. White women are constructed as victims of rape, whereas Muslim women appear to be constructed as the victims of oppression by Muslim men.

The depiction of women as victims, primarily of violence by Muslim men and Muslim culture, positions male supporters of the EDL as defenders of women and consequently of values and traditions of English culture.




One thought on “Rape, Attack, Abuse, Assault: Representations of Women in the Far-Right using Corpus Linguistics

  1. What is the conclusion supposed to be?

    The Muslims likely prefer to view their concept of covering up as protection of women and the idea of not doing so as irresponsible / risking women for perpetrators as-well.

    Some obviously seem to possibly justify their rapes or used the uncovered woman as a symbol of the non-Muslim society and as such a valid target for an attack in the Muslims case, possibly due to this cultural concept of that covering up protects, by rape.

    The opposite reaction exist as-well where the covered up woman is viewed as a symbol of Islam/Muslim and hence become a valid target, but since western culture don’t suggest that either a covered up or uncovered woman is a fair rape target the attack is more likely in the lines of trying to make her not cover up / reject that culture.

    I guess out of that you could make the claim that neither ACT for protection of women where they either rape or harass women.
    But one don’t have to be consistent and I guess one could be both.
    On the other hand it’s human to act on impulse / decide your view impulsively and later try to reason your way to why that is so. Something which can be changed by actually reasoning through it with different opinions and maybe you’ll change your mind.

    (Forgot to subscribe to answers.)

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