Acquaintance Rape: Associations between Rape Myths, Blame, and Attitudes towards Women
Keywords:rape, acquaintance rape, rape myths, attitudes, blame
This Australian study examined how acceptance of rape myths and gender-role beliefs was associated with blame in an acquaintance rape scenario. Associations between emotional responses of anger and sympathy, and supportive behavioral responses of friendship and institutional support, were also investigated. A group of undergraduate university students (N = 242) completed an online survey in which they read an acquaintance rape scenario from either the victimâ€™s or perpetratorâ€™s point of view, or both points of view. Participants completed measures of attributions of controllability, responsibility and blame (derived from Shaverâ€™s decision-stage model of blame), emotional and behavioral responses, rape myth acceptance (RMA) and attitudes towards women (ATW). Independent t-test results show that males scored significantly higher on RMA and ATW than did females. There were no significant gender differences in blame attributions to the victim or the perpetrator although higher RMA scores and less liberal attitudes towards women (ATW) were associated with more supportive responses to the perpetrator, and less supportive responses to the victim. Additionally, although not consistent with Shaverâ€™s model, it was found that constructs of controllability, responsibility and blame were not entirely distinct. The limitations and the implications of these findings, as well as directions for future research, are discussed.
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