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Press Release

Press Release

Doctoral Thesis on how women narrate experiences of rape within the Finland-Swedish #MeToo campaign “Dammen brister” (The Dam Bursts)

Sofia Wanström
Sofia Wanström

M.A. Sofia Wanström’s doctoral thesis in Nordic Folkloristics will be put forth for public defence at The Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at Åbo Akademi University.

The thesis is entitled When the Dam Burst: Perspectives on Genre and Tellability in Testimonies of Rape.

The public defence of the doctoral thesis takes place on 24 November 2023, at 1PM in auditorium Argentum, Aurum, Henrikinkatu 2, Turku. You can also attend the public defence of this doctoral thesis online. Docent Lena Karlsson, University of Lund, Lund, Sweden will serve as opponent and Professor Lena Marander-Eklund, Åbo Akademi University, as custos.


The thesis investigates how women narrate experiences of rape within the Finland-Swedish #MeToo campaign “Dammen brister” (The Dam Bursts). Rape is often considered a silenced subject, which the thesis links to an inability or unwillingness to hear these stories in the right way. A starting point is that there are preconceived notions about what can be told and how it can be told for a story to be understood and accepted by listeners, which silences stories that do not meet these expectations.

Within “Dammen brister”, writers were offered more narrative space to choose what and how they wanted to present, as the campaign created expectations that they would be understood and believed. The thesis thus studies how writers narrate rape when given the opportunity to tell it in their own words. The results show how writers can narrate in different ways that may not conform to an expected story of rape, which suggests that structural and discursive expectations can complicate the presentation of these experiences. Allowing those who have been victimized to present their experiences in their own words is therefore revealed to be essential for these stories to be told.

The thesis provides insights into the social and cultural contexts that frame and influence how rape is narrated and experienced. It can contribute to the work against sexual violence in society by improving the conditions for those who have been victims of rape to narrate these events and enhancing the ability of listeners to hear and understand them. In other words, the thesis contributes to making women’s own stories of rape audible and respected, which can increase awareness and knowledge of the issue.

Sofia Wanström was born in 1993, Pargas, Finland. She can be reached by phone +358 400 750 893 or email sofia.wanstrom@abo.fi.

The doctoral thesis can be read online through the Doria publication archive.

Click here for a press photo of the doctoral student.


Instructions on how to follow the doctoral defence remotely

To follow the defence, you need the Zoom software or the Google Chrome browser. You do not need to create a Zoom account to follow the defence. If you install the application, you participate by clicking on the meeting link, after which you should allow the link to open in the Zoom app.