Specific to Male and Female Students
Anderson, V. N., et al. (2004). "Gender, age, and rape-supportive rules." Sex Roles 50(1-2): 77-90.
Social rules regarding sexual behavior indicate when sex may be desired, expected, or obligatory. Some of these rules legitimize a man's initiation of sex with a woman regardless of the woman's desires or intentions; such situations could potentially lead to rape. Middle school, high school, and university students completed a Rules About Sex Questionnaire on which they indicated the situations in which a man could assume a woman wants to have sex. The results indicated that girls and women endorsed fewer rules than did boys and men. University students endorsed the fewest rules, and middle school students endorsed the most rules. Endorsement of rules was associated with boys' and men's self-reported sexually coercive behavior and with beliefs about who should initiate sex. The findings may be useful in the design of sexual assault prevention programs for adolescents.
Aronowitz, T., et al. (2012). "The role of rape myth acceptance in the social norms regarding sexual behavior among college students." Journal of Community Health Nursing 29(3): 173-182.
This study examined the antecedents for the acceptance of rape myths. The information motivation behavioral skills model was the basis for this study. In this cross-sectional study at a northeastern university, 237 students consented to participate in an online survey examining knowledge, social norms regarding sexual behavior, future time perspective, and rape myth acceptance (RMA). The majority of the sample was female. Forty-one percent believed that a woman who was raped while drunk was responsible. Men had higher RMA and the less sexual knowledge they had, the more they accepted the rape myths. Direction is provided regarding primary prevention of sexual assault.
Bell, S. T., et al. (1994). "UNDERSTANDING ATTRIBUTIONS OF BLAME IN STRANGER RAPE AND DATE RAPE SITUATIONS - AN EXAMINATION OF GENDER, RACE, IDENTIFICATION, AND STUDENTS SOCIAL PERCEPTIONS OF RAPE VICTIMS." Journal of Applied Social Psychology 24(19): 1719-1734.
This study examined factors that may influence attributions of rape victims. Three hundred and three university students completed a questionnaire, which included a measure of dispositional empathy and a vignette depicted either a date rape or a stranger rape situation. Subjects rated the extent that they blamed the rape victim as well as the degree to which they identified with the victim and perpetrator. Results indicated that male students blamed the victim to a greater extent than did female students; students consistently attributed more blame to the victim in date rape situations than they did in stranger rape situations; and, while empathy was not associated with students' attributions, perceptions of similarity to the rape victim and perpetrator were both related to attributions of blame. These findings are consistent with the notion of ''judgmental leniency'' presented in Shaver's defensive attribution theory (1970). Implications for rape prevention efforts and future research are also discussed.
Cairns, K. V. (1994). "A narrative study of qualitative data on sexual assault, coercion and harassment." Canadian Journal of Counselling 28(3): 193-205.
Used qualitative data obtained from a study (K. V. Cairns, 1993) of sexual harassment (SH) in student residence halls to provide counselors with guidelines for developing effective SH prevention and treatment strategies. 397 students (207 women) completed a questionnaire regarding their attitudes and beliefs about SH and the occurrence of SH in residence halls. Ss also completed a narrative response regarding an incident of unwanted sexual attention. 99 women and 60 men provided narratives of unwanted sexual attention. Narrative analysis identified 4 common types of stories related by Ss: responses to sexual assault, experiences of sexual coercion, adherence to personal moral standards, and mens' reactions to the SH of female friends. Consequences of SH for residents are discussed, and recommendations concerning the content and process of preventive education for SH are provided. (French abstract)
Drout, C. E., et al. (1994). "Does social influence mitigate or exacerbate responsibility for rape?" Journal of Social Behavior & Personality 9(3): 409-420.
Describes 2 studies which examined whether social influence, in the form of modeling and peer pressure, affects the assignment of responsibility for acquaintance rape. Study 1, with 86 undergraduates, involved victim-specific modeling; Study 2, with 164 undergraduates, involved victim general modeling. The predicted gender difference was not upheld. Modeling resulted in the exacerbation of judgments of the rapist's responsibility in some cases. When rape occurred after the modeling of the same behavior toward the same victim, the rapist was judged to be more guilty, more callous, and more deserving of punishment than when the same behavior occurred without social influence. Modeling and peer pressure both diminished the assignment of responsibility to the victim for her partner's decision to rape her. Results are discussed in terms of implications for rape prevention programs and research examining group rape.
Ensign, J. D. (1996). "Victim blame found in women: A comparison of sex role stereotyping and acceptance of rape myths as it relates to blaming behavior." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 57(2-B): 1499.
The purpose of this study was two fold. The first part was exploratory in nature and examined the relationship between rape myth acceptance and traditional versus egalitarian sex role stereotyping in three groups of women: athletes, sorority members, and those living in a residence hall. In addition, the rape myth acceptance and sex role stereotyping that these college women hold were compared to that of college men. The second part of this study evaluated the effectiveness of a college rape intervention program in reducing rape myth acceptance and sex role stereotyping. Pretest results found a significant difference between sorority members and women athletes, in that sorority members had more egalitarian sex role beliefs than the women athletes. Residence hall women were not found to differ from sorority members or women athletes on sex role orientation. In addition, no difference was found between residence hall women, women athletes, and sorority members in rape myth acceptances. It was found that the more traditional views a person held the more likely they were to accept rape myths. But where comparing males and females, a regression analysis indicated that the sex role stereotype held by males, traditional or egalitarian, influences their rape myth acceptance to a greater degree than it does for women. In examining the effect of the rape intervention program no significant change was found in any of the three groups following the program.
Garcia, C. M., et al. (2012). "Preventing sexual violence instead of just responding to it: Students' perceptions of sexual violence resources on campus." Journal of Forensic Nursing 8(2): 61-71.
Rates of sexual assault of college students are higher than the national rates. Colleges are uniquely positioned to offer preventive education and support services to a high-risk group. This qualitative study examines students' perceptions of sexual violence resources and services. Seventy-eight female and male students, between 18 and 24 years old, belonging to various demographic groups, participated in one-to-one walking interviews on five diverse Midwest 2- and 4-year postsecondary campuses. Findings suggest that students are concerned with safety-students want more education regarding sexual violence-and they value services that offer protection from incidents of sexual violence on campus. Participants expressed mixed reactions to prevention education that combined sexual violence prevention with alcohol and drug use. Students shared positive views of the security measures on campus. They emphasized the importance of using varied mechanisms for sexual violence-related resource messaging and advised moving away from the pamphlet toward posters and online resources. Recommendations are offered to strengthen existing resources, such as prevention education and postassault interventions including sexual assault nurse examiner services, and to minimize barriers to access of sexual violence resources.
Gray, N. B., et al. (1993). "EXPLAINING RAPE VICTIM BLAME - A TEST OF ATTRIBUTION THEORY." Sociological Spectrum 13(4): 377-392.
Rape victim-blaming attitudes are examined with data from a probability sample of students at a southern university (male, n = 511; female, n = 666). Hypotheses derived from two competing versions of attribution theory, ''defensive attribution'' and ''need for control,'' are tested to examine the effects of gender, past female sexual victimization, past male sexual aggression, nonsexual crime victimization, and risk taking on rape myth acceptance. The results show that: (1) Females are substantially less likely to blame rape victims; (2) For the female subsample, risk taking and rape victim blame are negatively associated; (3) Among males, past sexual aggression and risk taking are positively related to victim blaming; and (4) Male experience with nonsexual victimization is negatively related to victim blaming. Each version of attribution theory is partially confirmed by the findings. Nationality, race/ethnicity, class standing, and rape prevention knowledge also influence victim blaming attitudes.
Harrison, P. J., et al. (1991). "Date and acquaintance rape: Perceptions and attitude change strategies." Journal of College Student Development 32(2): 131-139.
Factor analyzed the revised Attitudes Toward Rape questionnaire (H. S. Feild; see record 1979-06211-001) and analyzed data from both pretest and posttest administrations. Two scales of victim-blaming or denial and perceptions of factual information were used as both pretest and posttest data. These scales were intended to assess the effectiveness of 2 treatment interventions to alter the perceptions of 51 female and 45 male undergraduates about acquaintance rape. Analysis revealed that on the victim-blaming or denial scale, men showed a significantly greater change in responses from pretest to posttest. For men, both treatments raised scores on both scales compared with a control group that had no intervention.
Hayes-Smith, R. M. and L. M. Levett (2010). "Student Perceptions of Sexual Assault Resources and Prevalence of Rape Myth Attitudes." Feminist Criminology 5(4): 335-354.
This study investigated whether students at a large, public university were receiving sexual assault resource information, whether the information was informative, and whether it was successful in dispelling commonly held rape myths. Findings suggest that students may not be receiving sexual assault information even though it was available on campus. If students reported receiving sexual assault information, they did not report much knowledge about its contents. In addition, knowledge of resources was not indicative of a lowered belief in rape myths. However, female students were less likely to believe in rape myths compared to male students. Students recommended innovative ways the university could disseminate information and these suggestions are discussed.
Henderson, M. S. (1994). "University students' views on sexual assault prevention education in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education." College Student Journal 28(4): 478-485.
1,033 undergraduates from 12 universities completed a survey about their views and experiences concerning sexual assault (SA) prevention education. 88% of Ss felt that SA prevention education was necessary at their school. However, over half of Ss had not had any such education. A discussion of acquaintance rape, the provision of counseling assistance for assault victims, and a description of the sexual assault response protocol for the university were considered to be the most important topics in SA prevention education. The 3 most effective ways of reducing rape on campus were identified: better security, student education, and enforcement of campus policy and stricter penalties for perpetrators. Ss wanted to be educated about SA, and they desired a strong, clear policy concerning administration intolerance to SA.
Heppner, M. J., et al. (1995). "Examining sex differences in altering attitudes about rape: A test of the Elaboration Likelihood Model." Journal of Counseling & Development 73(6): 640-647.
This intervention sought to improve 1st-yr college students' attitudes about rape, based on a previous study by B. J. Gilbert et al (1991). Ss were 152 females and 105 males (mean age 17.39 yrs) at a large, public, Midwestern university. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) was used to examine men's and women's attitude change processes. Both quantitative and qualitative methodologies were used to examine how men and women construed rape prevention messages. Results indicated numerous sex differences in the ways in which men and women experienced and changed during and after the rape prevention intervention. Women seemed to use more central-route attitude change processes and showed more lasting change from the intervention at 2-mo follow-up, whereas men seemed to attend more to peripheral cues of the speaker and demonstrated more transient attitude change. Findings support the ELM of attitude change in an applied context.
Hernandez, G. S., et al. (2004). "Validation of the violence acceptance scale and rape myths in university students." Salud Mental 27(6): 40-49.
At the present time, in spite of the beginning of a new century, characterized by considerable advances in science and technology, our societies have not been able to solve many of the serious problems affecting the social relationships and the development of people. Among these, we can point out, for instance, the extreme poverty and violence in their different modalities. Nowadays this seems an accepted form of social coexistence. For many inhabitants in the world, it has become part of daily life; and it seems that we have learned how to live with it, or rather, how to survive with it. In our daily lives, there seems to be a violence acceptance and tolerance which appears to be strongly allowed by cultural values which consider it as a valid and even natural way to manage conflicts. These values can become standards that reinforce men's domain over women, children and the elder. In addition, they may hold up the use of excessive force towards citizens on behalf of "governability" and the confrontation between groups with ideological, economic or political differences. In this violence-tolerant context, there is a kind of violence which is aimed specifically at women clue to the inequal relationship between men an women maintained by gender roles existing in our societies. By socializing men and women as contraries, only one group holds up the power, thus generating the conditions and reproduction of violence that, in the case of women, frequently crosses the border of sexuality. Sexual violence is a mostly masculine form of violence that works as a mechanism which limits and impedes the development of women in public settings. The lack of information and the silence around this kind of violence contribute to keep it hidden and minimized, for what erroneous beliefs have been generated regarding their causes. This type of beliefs are known as "rape myths", and they have been constituted mainly as a research line in the United States and Canada. The objective of the present work is to show the construct's validity and the Acceptance of the Violence and Rape Myths scale's reliability in a sample of university students. Method An evaluative comparative, transversal, ex pos facto study was carried out using an intentional non-probabilistic sample of 300 university students from three different departments, 40% of them where male and 60% female from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The instruments used where Velicer's Violence Acceptance Scale (38) and the Scale of Acceptance of Myths of Violation built up taking as a base the eight original items of the scale of Burt (5) and 4 of the scale of Struckman-Johnson (32). Results The general measurements of the Violence Acceptance Scale reactives show an inclination to disagree with the use of violence as a way to solve conflicts but, at the same time, it shows a tendency to agree with "the use of military violence in international interventions" and with "the necessity of manufacturing weapons". In the case of the Rape Myth Acceptance, it was appreciated that the general means where slightly superior, with the higher ones displaying a propensity to agree with the statement "when a woman uses short or tight clothing, provokes harassment". The factorial analysis came out with the following outputs: The Violence Acceptance Scale gave evidence for three factors (general alpha=.83). Factor 1 corresponding to the "family violence acceptance" dimension (alpha=.89). Factor 2 "violent disciplinary strategies acceptance" (alpha=.71). Factor 3 "military violence acceptance" (alpha=.67). The Rape Myth Scale came out with two factors (alpha general =.85). Factor 1 corresponding to "the,woman's culpability" dimension (alpha=.82). Factor 2 corresponds to "invulnerability/culpability". Invulnerability implies beliefs sustaining that raped women deserve such assaults if they have behaved "inappropriately". Culpability justifies the reasons by which a man can not be raped and puts blame on men who are raped (alpha=.80). In the other hand, the intra- and inter-correlation between the scales dimensions demonstrates a greater acceptance of the violent disciplinary strategies and a significant association with the acceptance of family violence. The acceptance of family violence was the dimension more closely associated with a woman's culpability and a man's invulnerability beliefs. That is to say, that those who consider acceptable to beat their couple or child, have a tendency to blame v,omen for their own rape and believe that men can not be raped at all. The acceptance of violent disciplinary strategies is associated, in a lower level, with women's culpability and men's rape invulnerability. Military violence acceptance nearly correlated with womens culpability but it did not correlate at all with men's vulnerability. Discussion This is a study on a very common current issue, which is nevertheless relatively unknown in our country. Because of that, it is necessary to consider it as the beginning of an entire investigation line. This work has been made with a very specific and non-representative sample which prevents us from making generalizations. However, given the severity of the violence problem in our country, we consider that this first contribution could open new lines of research in terms of validation of instruments regarding the matter. The Violence Acceptance Scale showed well-defined dimensions as the one for family violence acceptance. The violent disciplinary strategies dimension reflects 2 kind of education used throughout history. The acceptance of military violence is evident as 2 form of institutional violence, which uses justification mechanisms that in many cases coerce some groups against others. The Rape Myth Scale obtained the first dimension, named "raped women's culpability". The second factor, "men's rape invulnerability", formed 2 dimension that reports a fake belief that man can not be raped. It is appropriate to say that military violence obtained the highest acceptation mean; such outcomes reveal the need to make further research on this particular subject. It is also necessary to do more exhaustive research on these topics, assuming that violence its not perceived as an isolated incident or set of practices, but rather as norms that are accepted or not depending on the context. A change is urgent in order to stop violence becoming customary in our societies. To accomplish that, human and material resources need to be mobilized so that a campaign against all kinds of violence can be developed to transform such events into ones that would not be tolerated by any society or culture.
Highby, B. J. (2001). "Making the implicit explicit: The relationship between college students' implicit theories about what causes rape and what should be done to prevent rape." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 62(4-B): 2059.
Students' implicit theories about rape causation and prevention were evaluated in three studies. Theorists have proposed a wide range of different, and sometimes contradictory, explanations for rape and the ways to prevent it. The purpose of the first study was to create a questionnaire about the perceived causes of rape from open-ended questions and to examine whether students' perceptions of the causes of rape related to gender, traditionality, or the victim-perpetrator relationship. In the second study, we generated a questionnaire of ideas about rape prevention. We asked students to think about the prevention of stranger rape, acquaintance rape, or partner rape. We classified the items into target groups based on whether the ideas focused on the role of men, women, or society in rape prevention. In the final study, we explored whether 275 female and 215 male students' implicit theories about rape causation and prevention focused on men, women, or society. We examined whether students' implicit theories about rape related to their gender, acceptance of traditional gender roles, social ideology, or whether they were asked to think about stranger rape or acquaintance rape. We examined how theories about rape causation related to their theories about rape prevention. Students viewed some ideas about rape causation and prevention differently based on their gender, the degree to which they believed in traditional gender roles, and whether they thought about stranger rape or acquaintance rape. Students' theories about rape causation and prevention did not differ according to social ideology. The importance of understanding people's implicit theories about rape, and how these ideas may influence their feelings and behaviors, was discussed.
Hinck, S. S. and R. W. Thomas (1999). "Rape myth acceptance in college students: How far have we come?" Sex Roles 40(9-10): 815-832.
Researchers have emphasized the significant role of rape myth acceptance in individuals' predisposition to engage in sexually aggressive behavior, including rape. The purpose of this study was to examine the current state of rape myth acceptance in college students and the factors that differentiated acceptance vs nonacceptance of rape myths. 158 Ss were provided with 2 measures of attitudes toward rape and asked the degree to which they agreed or disagreed with each statement. Results indicated that college students reported disagreement with rape myth statements. However, variations in the degree of disagreement emerged; men and individuals who had not attended a rape awareness workshop expressed weaker disagreement with rape myths than women and individuals who had attended a rape awareness workshop. Discriminant analysis of these variables successfully identified a core set of rape myths that differentiated individuals in terms of the degree to which they subscribed to rape-supportive attitudes.
Hirata Fujimori, D. L. (2010). "Understanding the reporting behavior of international college student bystanders in sexual assault situations." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences 71(6-A): 1933.
This study examined international college students at two institutions of higher education - a large research institution and a non-traditional management institution, with a majority of the sample being alumni from the latter. The purpose of the study was to provide data on the bystander characteristics and experiences of international college students in sexual assault situations. A web-based survey was used to collect data from both institutions. Data were analyzed with quantitative methods. The analyses showed that about half the sample intervened correctly in sexual assault situations, although the majority of the participants were unclear about which reporting actions were helpful and which were not. Reporting behavior differed significantly by country groupings and by cultural identification. The majority of the sample studied in the United States for less than a year, and significantly more non-reporters studied in the United States for less than a year. Most of the participants indicated high levels of perceived English proficiency. About a fourth of the sample attended a sexual assault awareness program or utilized a counseling service. The most important facilitator to reporting was the option to report anonymously, followed by the ability of the participants to communicate the incident of sexual assault. The most influential barriers to reporting were the risks of personal harm and being negatively perceived by others. The most influential relationship facilitators to reporting were the participant being a friend or an acquaintance of the victim.
Hull, D. B., et al. (1992). "How to avoid date rape: College students' perceptions." Chrisler, Joan C [Ed]: 188-199.
(from the chapter) purpose of this chapter is to investigate in detail the expectations, attitudes, anticipated responses, and reactions of college students [17-22 years old] responding to simulated date rape situations where story details are constant / investigated the following: the responses of women and men who were asked to complete a potential date rape story (Group 1), the understanding shown by women and men of the other sex's feelings in a potential date rape situation (Group 2), the effectiveness of women's anticipated responses when imagining a potential date rape situation happening to them (Group 3), and the responses of men imagining themselves the potential victims in a date rape situation (Group 4)
Hust, S. J., et al. (2013). "The effects of sports media exposure on college students' rape myth beliefs and intentions to intervene in a sexual assault." Mass Communication & Society 16(6): 762-786.
An online survey was fielded to freshmen living in residence halls at a northwestern university in the United States. Structural equation modeling was used to investigate the structure of relationships among exposure to mainstream sports media, rape myth acceptance, and intentions to intervene in sexual assault situations while controlling for gender traits. Given that prior research suggests men and women differ in their beliefs about sexual assault, analyses were performed on male (n = 111) and female (n = 241) respondents separately. Among women, exposure to sports media was positively associated with rape myth acceptance, which in turn was negatively associated with intentions to intervene in sexual assault situations. Among men, consuming sports media was negatively associated with intentions to intervene in a sexual assault. The findings suggest that exposure to some sports media may be negatively associated to individuals' intentions to intervene in a sexual assault.
Jimenez, J. A. (2002). "The effects of race and gender on respondent attitudinal perceptions of acquaintance rape." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 63(2-B): 1031.
This study assessed the attitudes revealed by 336 Latino and Caucasian college student participants who reacted to a written, acquaintance rape vignette that manipulated victim and perpetrator race. Participants rated their reactions to the vignette using the Rape Empathy Scale (RES), the Attitudes toward Rape Victim Scale (ARVS) and the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (RMAS). A 2 (participant sex) x 2 (participant race) x 2 (vignette victim race; Latino, Caucasian) x 2 (vignette perpetrator race; Latino, Caucasian) MANCOVA and appropriate follow-up analyses detected significant main effects for sex on all three dependent measures. Female students reported higher perceptions of empathy, more credibility toward the rape victim, and more accurate perceptions of rape compared to their male counterparts. A significant 3-way interaction effect involving sex, participant race, and victim race was also obtained for the RMAS ratings, indicating that compared to Latinas, Caucasian female participants reported stronger positive attitudes toward women and more accurate perceptions of rape when the vignette victim was portrayed as Caucasian. Additionally, the 2-way interaction between sex and participant race was significant for all three dependent ratings, generally indicating that Caucasian female participants were most sympathetic toward the victim in their reactions to the vignette. Findings are discussed with regard to developing effective rape prevention workshops on college and university campuses as well as in the general public.
Krulewitz, J. E. and E. J. Payne (1978). "Attributions about rape: Effects of rapist force, observer sex and sex role attitudes." Journal of Applied Social Psychology 8(4): 291-305.
Investigated Ss' perceptions of a hypothetical rape situation as a function of the amount of force used in the rape, sex of S, and Ss' attitudes toward feminism (Attitudes Toward Feminism Scale). 118 female and 114 male undergraduates were randomly assigned by sex to 1 of 3 force conditions. Consistent with expectation, Ss expressed greater certainty that a rape had actually occurred with increased force on the part of the assailant. A 2nd hypothesis received partial support: Increasing force led to stronger attributions of rape on the part of traditional women, whereas liberal women tended to see the incident as rape at all force levels. A similar relationship did not emerge for men. As predicted, profeminist Ss implicated societal factors as causal in rape to a greater extent than did nonfeminists. Contrary to prediction, however, pro- and nonfeminists did not differ from each other in the degree of blame attributed to either the victim or the assailant. Findings support the general notion that one's gender and sex-role attitudes as well as the degree of force used by a rape assailant affect one's evaluation of this situation and the manner in which one attributes cause. Implications for rape prevention and victim reaction are discussed.
Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., et al. (2004). "Attributions about perpetrators and victims of interpersonal abuse - Results from an analogue study." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 19(4): 484-498.
This analogue study (written vignettes and videotapes) examines the influence of victim-perpetrator relationship (spouse or acquaintance), sex of perceiver and type of abuse (psychological vs. physical) on attributions about victims and perpetrators of domestic abuse. College student participants (73 men, 108 women) were randomly assigned to condition. As expected, type of relationship influenced observer perceptions. Specifically, participants rated the victim of marital violence as more psychologically damaged and disturbed by the abuse than the victim of acquaintance violence. Furthermore, interaction effects showed that men, more than women, rated the actions of the married perpetrator as more of a victim's rights violation than the actions of the acquaintance perpetrator Second, type of abuse was shown to influence perceptions of the perpetrator but not the victim. Sex-of-perceiver affects were also obtained. Women held the perpetrator more responsible and assigned less blame to the victim than did men. Legal and clinical implications are then discussed.
Mahlstedt, D. L. and L. A. Welsh (2005). "Perceived causes of physical assault in heterosexual dating relationships." Violence Against Women 11(4): 447-472.
Two studies investigated college students' perceptions of causes of violence in heterosexual dating relationships. Study 1 examined 107 participants' written causal explanations for dating violence. The second study focused on 70 students' ratings of cause in 15 scenarios ending with the man hitting the woman. Relationship and communication problems were primary causes when dating violence was presented in a concrete situation, whereas power and gender socialization were primary causes when presented as a social problem. Participants acknowledge power as an important cause, which suggests feminist structural frameworks in which relationship violence is embedded may lead to more effective prevention education.
Morrison, K. (2005). "Motivating women and men to take protective action against rape: examining direct and indirect persuasive fear appeals." Health Commun 18(3): 237-256.
This article examines the effectiveness of persuasive fear appeals in motivating women to enroll in self-defense classes to take protective action against rape. Witte's extended parallel process model is used as a framework to examine the relations between perceived invulnerability, perceived fear, and fear control processes. Because women may perceive invulnerability to rape, persuasive fear appeals targeted toward them may be ineffective in achieving attitude, intention, and behavioral change toward protecting themselves. One possible solution is to persuade men to talk with women about whom they care. Results indicated that women did not perceive invulnerability to rape, and although there was no differential impact between high- and low-threat messages, women did report positive intention and behaviors in response to direct fear appeals. Moreover, men reported positive intention and behaviors in response to indirect fear appeals.
Mulliken, B. L. (2006). "Rape myth acceptance in college students: The influence of gender, racial, and religious attitudes." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 66(11-B): 6285.
One in 6 women in the U.S. has been a victim of a completed or attempted rape. Studies on rape victimization have found the rate of sexual assault among college students may be as high as 1 in 3 women. The prevalence of rape has led many researchers to claim that the U.S. is a rape supportive culture. Within this culture exists beliefs about sexual assault that are untrue, prejudicial, and create hostility towards victims, called "rape myths". Rape myths are a representation of the larger oppressive social constructs of racism and sexism that exist in the U.S. today. The history of rape and racism in our country may also influence belief in rape myths. These are important factors to consider when designing rape prevention programs and striving to reduce the incidence of rape. The purpose of the study was to examine rape myth acceptance and the variables that may be associated with the perpetuation of these beliefs. The information gained from this study could improve the efforts of clinicians and educators working on rape awareness and prevention programs. The current study examined the rape myth acceptance and attitudes towards rape victims of 330 racially diverse male and female college students from a public, southeastern university. It was found that men displayed significantly greater rape myth acceptance and greater negative attitudes toward rape victims. Additionally, participants with more traditional gender role beliefs, racist beliefs and fundamentalist religious beliefs displayed more rape myth acceptance and more negative attitudes towards rape victims. Asian/Pacific Islander participants had more rape myth acceptance and more negative attitudes towards rape victims than did White participants. Higher levels of religiosity were not found correlated with, nor were they predictive of, rape myth acceptance or negative attitudes toward rape victims. Finally, it was found that when controlling for the influences of race and sex, belief in traditional gender roles and racism were significant predictors of rape myth acceptance and negative attitudes toward rape victims. Implications of these results are discussed.
Naylor, K. E. (1992). "Gender role strain: A contributing factor to acquaintance rape in a college population at risk." Dissertation Abstracts International 52(10-B): 5520.
Newcombe, P. A., et al. (2008). "Attributions of responsibility for rape: Differences across familiarity of situation, gender, and acceptance of rape myths." Journal of Applied Social Psychology 38(7): 1736-1754.
In 2004 in Australia, controversy over the alleged involvement of elite footballers in incidents of sexual assault highlighted a tendency to denigrate the victims and excuse the perpetrators. To investigate whether rape myths were prevalent enough to explain this public response, 102 university students were surveyed for their beliefs and determinations of blame in rape situations. Although there was a gender difference in the rates of rape myth acceptance, with males more likely to accept these beliefs, these were not evident in decisions about victim blame or perpetrator blame. However, males and high rape myth acceptors were significantly more likely to minimize the seriousness of the rape situation. These effects increased with familiarity depicted in the situation.
Putman, A. G. (2002). "College students' perceptions of date rape: The relationship between personal relevance and victim empathy." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 63(5-B): 2599.
The main purpose of this study was to empirically analyze college students' perceptions of date rape, specifically focusing on the relationship between personal relevance and victim empathy. Drawing from the Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty & Cacioppo, 1981, 1986a, 1986b), the personal relevance of a date rape scenario was manipulated and victim empathy was measured using the Rape Empathy Scale (Deitz, S. R., Blackwell, K. T., Daley, P. C., & Bentley, B. J., 1982) and the Acquaintance Rape Empathy Scale (Berg, Lonsway, & Fitzgerald, 1999). Participants in this study included 199 college students from a mid-sized university who read either a personally relevant date rape scenario, a general date rape scenario, or no date rape scenario. Victim empathy was measured five weeks before participants in the experimental groups read the scenario and immediately after they read the scenario. On the ARES, participants who did not read a date rape scenario indicated higher levels of empathy for a rape victim than did participants who read a personally relevant date rape scenario. No differences were found between participants who read a personally relevant date rape scenario and those who read a general scenario. No differences were found between the groups on the RES. This study also replicated date rape research findings that demonstrated a relationship between gender and victim empathy, between prior victimization and victim empathy and between gender and prior victimization. As predicted, females and participants with prior victimization indicated higher levels of victim empathy than did males and those without prior victimization. In addition, a significant relationship was found between gender and prior victimization, with females being more likely to report prior victimization than men. Finally, this study addressed methodological limitations that currently exist in date rape research by exploring the use of a relatively new measure of acquaintance rape empathy. This study also provided an original date rape scenario that does not adhere to date rape myths. Furthermore, this study used a qualitative component to explore the relationships between proposed date rape scenario endings and gender, personal relevance, and prior victimization. Implications regarding date rape research and date rape prevention programs are discussed.
Rosenthal, E. H. (1996). "Changing the rape-supportive attitudes of traditional and nontraditional males and females." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 56(11-B): 6469.
Date rape is a serious problem on college campuses and often leads to more severe psychological consequences than stranger rape. A possible variable linked to date rape has been identified as the degree to which both males and females possess traditional, sex-role stereotyping attitudes. Although several attempts have been made to change rape-related attitudes and behaviors, none have focused their interventions on highly traditional individuals. The present study takes this next step, using a psychoeducational intervention that had been successful with less traditional individuals. Two hundred and forty-five male and female undergraduates were classified on the basis of their traditionality and either received the intervention or served as no-treatment controls. Results revealed that, on five of seven attitudinal measures, participants who received the intervention expressed less rape-supportive attitudes than did control participants. The same pattern was true for females versus males on three of the measures. Similarly, on all attitudinal measures, less traditional participants expressed less rape-supportive attitudes than did more traditional participants. In addition, participants' responses to a subsequent phone appeal, purportedly unrelated to the experiment, regarding women's safety projects were in part less rape-supportive for experimental versus control and female versus male participants. However, this pattern was not found for less traditional versus more traditional participants. Finally, support was gained for the notion that traditionality is a very powerful predictor of a person's degree of rape-supportive attitudes. Implications of these findings for future rape-prevention efforts are discussed.
Rutledge, S. E., et al. (2011). "Information about human sexuality: Sources, satisfaction, and perceived knowledge among college students." Sex Education 11(4): 471-487.
This study explored how 333 undergraduate and graduate students attending a large university in the southeastern USA learned about sex, their satisfaction with how they learned about sex, and their self-perceived knowledge before and after taking a human sexuality course. An anonymous, voluntary survey was administered to students in the first and last sessions of human sexuality classes each semester from fall 2004 until spring 2006. Standardized measures included how students learned about sex, satisfaction with ways they learned about sex, barriers to parent-child discussions, and self-perceived knowledge about sex. Although 67% of students indicated parents should be instrumental in sex education, only 15% indicated parents as a primary source. Thirty-seven percent reported some level of dissatisfaction with how they learned about sex. Self-perceived knowledge increased significantly following the course. College courses addressing sexuality as integral to human development should complement college programming that focuses on risk reduction for sexually transmitted diseases/infections, sexual assault, and unintended pregnancy.
Sahl, D. and J. Keene (2012). "The Effects of Age, Authority, and Gender on Perceptions of Statutory Rape Offenders." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 27(18): 3701-3722.
Using a sample of 2,838 students from a Southwestern university in the United States, the authors examine the effect of respondent's gender, the adult's gender, the age gap between the adult and teen, and the adult's authority, on students' perceptions of vignettes describing adult-teen sexual relationships. Specifically, the authors investigate four dependent variables related to perceptions of the crime: the adult offender's emotional motivation, whether the adult is a sexual predator, whether the adult should have limited interactions with children, and whether the adult should be included on a sex offender registry. ANOVA analysis revealed that a large age gap between the adult and teen, the presence of authority in the relationship, and respondent's gender were significant predictors of perceptions of the offender as a predator and sex offender. The offender's gender significantly predicted respondents' perceived motivations but had no effect on opinions regarding sex offender registration. The authors discuss the implications of these findings for perceptions of statutory rape.
Sisco, M. M. (2011). "Enhancement of sexual boundaries: An online awareness project." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 72(6-B): 3740.
Five-hundred forty four students from an urban southwestern University underwent a sexual aggression beliefs and behaviors evaluation and subsequent online intervention. Approximately three-quarters of male and female students experienced a sexual boundary violation during the past year. Though male and female students were equally as likely to experience inappropriate sexual attention and/or contact, female students were significantly more likely to experience attempted and/or completed anal and vaginal rape and significantly most frequently after an explicit verbal indication of objection such as "no." Less than 10% of persons who experienced or enacted acts that met the legal threshold of a crime reported that the act would be defined as such. Thus, it may be that a large amount of college students are incapable of identifying personal victimizations or that sexually aggressive behavior has become more normative in the typical college sexual escapade. The modalities that were implemented exceeded those previously explored (i.e. lying and manipulating the victim directly) to include the use of technology, bets or dares, sexual scare tactics, and social vengeance. When the mechanisms for sexual aggression were explored, it appeared that aggressors typically acted out due to availability of victims and difficulty controlling their sexual urges, thus, traditional awareness efforts that attempt to alter attitudes in an effort to prevent sexual aggression seem ill-fitted to the college population. However, difficulty discerning objection from consent was associated with an increased risk of victimization, self-blame for victimization, and cognitive justification for aggressive behavior. Personality played a major role in intervention receptivity; students who were conscientious were more capable of changing and sensing personal change. Feeling 'changed', being high on Psychopathy, and having pre-set ideas regarding rape myths of the opposite sex or pre-existing difficulties deciphering objection from consent impeded intervention receptivity.
Suarez, E. and T. M. Gadalla (2010). "Stop blaming the victim: a meta-analysis on rape myths." J Interpers Violence 25(11): 2010-2035.
Although male rape is being reported more often than before, the majority of rape victims continue to be women. Rape myths-false beliefs used mainly to shift the blame of rape from perpetrators to victims-are also prevalent in today's society and in many ways contribute toward the pervasiveness of rape. Despite this, there has been limited consideration as to how rape prevention programs and policies can address this phenomenon, and there is no updated information on the demographic, attitudinal, or behavioral factors currently associated with rape myths. This research aimed to address this gap by examining the correlates of rape-myths acceptance (RMA) in published studies. A total of 37 studies were reviewed, and their results were combined using meta-analytic techniques. Overall, the findings indicated that men displayed a significantly higher endorsement of RMA than women. RMA was also strongly associated with hostile attitudes and behaviors toward women, thus supporting feminist premise that sexism perpetuates RMA. RMA was also found to be correlated with other "isms," such as racism, heterosexism, classism, and ageism. These findings suggest that rape prevention programs and policies must be broadened to incorporate strategies that also address other oppressive beliefs concurrent with RMA. Indeed, a renewed awareness of how RMA shapes societal perceptions of rape victims, including perceptions of service providers, could also reduce victims' re-victimization and enhance their coping mechanisms.
Swope, K. H. (2013). "Rape myth acceptance: An exploration of influential factors among college students." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences 73(7-A(E)): No Pagination Specified.
The study examines influential factors of rape myth acceptance among 615 college students. Research suggests that the rate for sexual assault in the United States can range from 5% to 22% of the female population (Fisher, Cullen, & Turner, 2000; Kilpatrick, Best, Veronen, Amick, Villeponteaux, & Ruff, 1985; Mustaine & Tewksbury, 2002; Russell, 1984; Sorenson, Stein, Siegel, Golding, & Burnam, 1987; Tjaden & Thoennes, 1998; 2006). Historically, the sexual assault rates for college women are three times greater than women in the general population (Koss & Gidycz, 1985). A common method for rape prevention, especially on college campuses, is to dispel rape myths that individuals hold about rape victims, rapists, and situations surrounding rape. The current study identifies which factors are the most influential in rape myth acceptance among a sample of college students. Based on the findings, recommendations for prevention programs and policies are discussed. The results of the study can inform future research and add to the current literature.
Tritsch, R. V. (1999). "Male and female attitudes toward sexuality and sexual aggression in dating relationships." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 60(2-B): 0876.
The purpose of the present research was to gain a better understanding of how men and women perceive and evaluate dating situations illustrating consensual and nonconsensual sexual encounters. The participants were 158 male and female college students who randomly received one of three vignettes within a questionnaire. Both their attitudes toward the situation and how they viewed the characters in the vignette were of interest. The four main issues that were explored were gender differences, attitudes toward heterosexual relationships, gender-role stereotyping, and the perception of coercion and force (as normative) in relationships. Between and within group comparisons were based on two independent variables: (1) three levels of sexual aggression depicted in the written vignettes (consensual, coercive, and rape) and (2) two levels of gender of the participant (male, female). It was hypothesized that both the level of aggression depicted in the vignette and the gender of the participant would affect attitudes and character attributions. Results were complex, with some mixed findings. Both men and women viewed coercion and force on dates as negative but just as plausible and likely as consensual sex. Results supported the notion that a traditional heterosexual script supports male dominance as normal and natural. Participant gender differences were found in the attitudes towards the situations but not in the attributions made about the characters. The results of this study provide information about the perceptions and dating experiences of college students. This information can be used to help plan intervention and prevention programs to address the issues of sexual aggression in dating relationships.
Yee, J. L., et al. (1998). "Attitudes toward various modes of coping with criminal victimization: The effects of gender and type of crime." Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 17(3): 273-294.
Two studies investigated attitudes toward crime victims' modes of coping. In the fi rst experiment involving 176 college students (67 men and 109 women), we tested the hypothesis that participants would favor strategies consistent with their gender role and experience, and that such attitudes would vary with the nature of the crime. Participants read a short narrative describing a criminal victimization (burglary, robbery, rape) of a female student and then rated their approval of 26 modes of coping that she might employ. Factor analysis of these ratings identified seven modes: Social Withdrawal, Denial, Self-Blame, Active Coping, Hardening the Target, Avoidance, and Downward Comparison. Results revealed that men were more approving than women of coping strategies aimed at maintaining an agentic appearance, whereas women were more approving of strategies aimed at risk reduction and that reflected a communal orientation. Type of crime did not modify these gender differences. In a second experiment involving a more heterogeneous sample of 223 participants (84 men and 139 women), we attempted to replicate and extend these findings by adding victim's gender as an independent variable. Using the same methodology employed in Experiment 1, results replicated the factor structure obtained in the first experiment as well as participant gender differences. However, a significant four-way interaction effect showed that attitudes were qualified by specific features of the situation, such as the nature of the crime and the victim's gender. The implications of the findings for victims' strategic self-presentation of coping are discussed.
Specific to Female Students)
Bondurant, B. and P. L. Donat (1999). "Perceptions of women's sexual interest and acquaintance rape: The role of sexual overperception and affective attitudes." Psychology of Women Quarterly 23(4): 691-705.
Rape prevention and education efforts often focus on the need for clear communication regarding sexual intent between women and men. This approach is based on the underlying assumption that acquaintance rape is a relational issue resulting from miscommunication. Findings from 2 studies, with a total of 528 18-25 yr old and older college students, challenge that assumption. The 1st study demonstrates that men who self-report engaging in sexually aggressive behavior are significantly more likely to misperceive women's sexual intent than other men or women. The 2nd study demonstrates that the cognitive, rather than affective, components of rape-supportive attitudes contribute to sexualized interpretations of women's behavior. Thus, it appears that the tendency to rely on miscommunication as a framework for understanding sexual assault may be deflecting attention from sexual overperceptions and the affectively based information processing among men who engage in sexually assaultive behavior.
Day, K. (1994). "Conceptualizing women's fear of sexual assault on campus: A review of causes and recommendations for change." Environment and Behavior 26(6): 742-765.
Sexual assault is increasingly recognized as an urgent and pervasive problem on university campuses. Women's fear of sexual assault is similarly significant and widespread. Growing university assault prevention efforts on campus have often overlooked the negative implications of women's fear. Depending on their onus of responsibility, university sexual assault prevention strategies may implicitly reinforce gendered social norms for public behavior by increasing women's fear in public spaces, with consequent detrimental effects for women's positive experience on campus. Based on a conceptualization of fear of sexual assault as a form of social control, this review discusses societal, individual, and university/campus factors (organizational, social, and especially physical) associated with women's fear of assault on campus. In conclusion, it suggests university assault prevention strategies that may also reduce women's fear.
Day, K. (1999). "Strangers in the night: Women's fear of sexual assault on urban college campuses." Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 16(4): 289-312.
Sexual assault and fear of assault plague women students on US college campuses. This study investigates women's fear of sexual assault on campus, using findings from participant photography, a brief questionnaire, and open-ended interviews with 38 women students (aged 18-38) at 2 Midwestern, urban universities. Ss were asked to independently photograph scenes on and near campus, associated with fear and the absence of fear. Personal, physical, and social cues for women's fear are described and explained. Three primary types of fear emerge: fear of stranger assault by surprise or entrapment; fear of strange people and places; and fear of uncivil or norm-violating behavior. Disparities between fear and actual sexual assault support a model of fear as social control over women's use of public space. Recommendations address future research, campus planning, and crime prevention.
Easton, A. N., et al. (1997). "College women's perceptions regarding resistance to sexual assault." J Am Coll Health 46(3): 127-131.
College women's perceptions about resistance to sexual assault were examined. Twenty-one percent of the 334 women surveyed stated that they had been sexually assaulted. The vast majority of participants had changed their lifestyles to prevent a sexual assault. Less than 1 woman in 5 of those surveyed had taken a self-defense class. Participants believed that resisting sexual assault by a stranger with a weapon was more likely than resisting an unarmed attacker to increase their chances of being physically harmed, raped, or murdered. Twenty-two percent of the participants said they were "very likely" to resist sexual assault by a stranger with a weapon; 52% would resist a stranger without a weapon. The findings indicate the need for an increase in the number of women taking self-defense classes and a revision in women's perceptions about resisting sexual assault.
Hughes, P. P., et al. (2003). "Multidimensional analysis of fear and confidence of university women relating to crimes and dangerous situations." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 18(1): 33-49.
Fear-of-crime research, although plentiful, has been plagued by criticism that it often focuses on generalized, global measures of fear instead of specific instances that elicit an emotional response of fear. Much of the criticism is justified. Little is known about women's perceptions of confidence in managing dangerous situations or crimes, or if confidence is correlated strongly with fear. College women (n=564) completed the Perceptions of Dangerous Situations Scale, a survey instrument validated for college women, consisting of 34 crimes and dangerous situations. Women rated each situation with regard to their fear of and their confidence to manage selected situations. Ratings were subjected to multidimensional scaling, producing 2 dimensions that were interpreted as personal threat and intimacy. Cluster analysis produced 8 interpretable clusters for fear and 8 for confidence. Implications for self-defense curricula and rape prevention training are discussed.
Littleton, H., et al. (2009). "Risky situation or harmless fun? A qualitative examination of college women's bad hook-up and rape scripts." Sex Roles 60(11-12): 793-804.
College students appear to be increasingly engaging in casual, non-committed sexual relationships, which may represent potential situations in which sexual assaults occur. The current study sought to assess if college students regard rape as a potential outcome of hooking up through examination of students' rape and hook-up scripts. A multi-ethnic sample of 109 US college women (54% European American, 19% Latina, 21% African American) described a typical rape and bad hook-up. Hook-up scripts generally did not include the possibility of sexual assault and instead focused on psychological consequences (e.g., shame). Participants' rape scripts generally did not occur in the context of casual sexual encounters. Implications of the results for understanding students' sexual behavior and developing rape prevention programs are discussed.
Phillips, L. M. (2000). "Flirting with danger: Young women's reflections on sexuality and domination." 253.
(from the publicity materials) Explores how young women make sense of, resist, and negotiate conflicting messages about sexual agency, responsibility, aggression, and desire. How do women develop their ideas about sex, love, and domination? Why do they express feminist views condemning male violence in the abstract, but often adamantly refuse to name their own violent and exploitive encounters as abuse, rape, or victimization? Based on individual and collective interviews with racially and culturally diverse sample of college-aged women, the book sheds light on the cultural lenses through which young women interpret their sexual encounters and their experiences of male aggression in heterosexual relationships. The book is also of good use for advocates seeking to design prevention and intervention programs which speak to the complex needs of women with questions of sexuality and violence.
Reinders, G. (2007). "Women's reactions to a realistic rape portrayal and the influence of feminist identity and rape myth acceptance." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 68(2-B): 1363.
The purpose of this study was to expand knowledge regarding the effects of viewing sexually violent stimuli on college women. Specifically, this study is the first to examine women's reactions to a popular media depiction of a date/acquaintance rape scene. This study also examined if either feminist identity or rape myth acceptance was related to these reactions. Sixty college females enrolled at the University of Missouri were exposed to either a neutral film clip or one depicting a date/acquaintance rape. Anger, negative affect, and disempowerment were assessed, along with feminist identity and rape myth acceptance. Repeated measures ANOVAs demonstrated a significant interaction effect, in that women reported significantly higher feelings of anger and negative affect after viewing the rape scene. Significance was not reached for disempowerment. Rape myth acceptance and feminist identity did not influence women's affective responses. Implications for future research, prevention, and counseling are discussed.
Renzetti, C. M. (2005). "Editor's Introduction." Violence Against Women 11(4): 423-425.
This issue of the journal "Violence Against Women" focuses on sexual assault. One of the articles in the issue compares reports of unwanted sexual experiences among two cohorts of undergraduate students at one university. Two studies examined college students' perceptions of the causes of violence in heterosexual dating relationships. Discussions on critical implications of the research for improving campus violence prevention programs were also included. Issue included report findings of an examination of Adult Protective Services (APS) files during a 5-year period to compare the sexual abuse experiences of young and elderly disabled women. A study of the factors that increase women's vulnerability to sexual revictimization are discussed by comparing the experiences of and outcomes for women who were victimized once, women who were victimized multiple times by the same perpetrator, and women who were victimized multiple times by different perpetrators. Finally discusses the resistance strategies of women who were victimized by a New Zealand serial rapist, Malcolm Rewa.
Zinzow, H. M., et al. (2011). "Self-rated health in relation to rape and mental health disorders in a national sample of college women." J Am Coll Health 59(7): 588-594.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to employ a multivariate approach to examine the correlates of self-rated health in a college sample of women, with particular emphasis on sexual assault history and related mental health outcomes. PARTICIPANTS: A national sample of 2,000 female college students participated in a structured phone interview between January and June 2006. METHODS: Interview modules assessed demographics, posttraumatic stress disorder, major depressive episode, substance use, rape experiences, and physical health. RESULTS: Logistic regression analyses showed that poor self-rated health was associated with low income (odds ratio [OR] = 2.70), lifetime posttraumatic stress disorder (OR = 2.47), lifetime major depressive episode (OR = 2.56), past year illicit drug use (OR = 2.48), and multiple rape history (OR = 2.25). CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the need for university mental health and medical service providers to assess for rape history, and to diagnose and treat related psychiatric problems in order to reduce physical morbidity.
Specific to Male Students
Abbey, A. and P. McAuslan (2004). "A Longitudinal Examination of Male College Students' Perpetration of Sexual Assault." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 72(5): 747-756.
Self-administered surveys were completed by 197 men in college at 2 time points, 1 year apart. Men who committed sexual assault at multiple time points (repeat assaulters) had the most extreme scores on measures of hostility toward women, past sexual experiences, drinking in sexual situations, and adolescent delinquency. Nonassaulters had the least extreme scores and men who committed sexual assault at only 1 time point had scores that tended to fall in between. Repeat assaulters also expressed significantly less remorse when they described their sexual assault at Time 1 than did past assaulters who committed sexual assault only at the initial time point. These findings demonstrate the importance of initiating prevention and treatment programs in early adolescence, before longstanding attitudes and behaviors tolerant of sexual assault are established.
Berkowitz, A. D. (2002). "Fostering men's responsibility for preventing sexual assault." Schewe, Paul A [Ed]: 163-196.
(from the chapter) Even though only a minority of men may commit sexual assault, all men can have an influence on the culture and environment that allows other men to be perpetrators. The author believes that effective sexual assault prevention requires that men look at their own potential for violence as well as take a stand against the violence of other men. This chapter provides an overview of the issues involved in men taking responsibility for sexual assault prevention, suggests a philosophy and pedagogy for rape prevention, provides a developmental model for prevention programs, makes recommendations for advancing the field, and reviews promising interventions and strategies. The chapter's primary focus is the prevention of sexual assault perpetrated by young men against young women who know each other in college or high school settings.
Berkowitz, A. D. (2011). USING HOW COLLEGE MEN FEEL ABOUT BEING MEN AND "DOING THE RIGHT THING" TO PROMOTE MEN'S DEVELOPMENT.
Bouffard, L. A. and J. A. Bouffard (2011). "Understanding men's perceptions of risks and rewards in a date rape scenario." Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol 55(4): 626-645.
Existing research on date rape has identified important correlations between rape-supportive attitudes and sexual aggression. What remains unclear is the mechanism by which these attitudes are translated into sexually aggressive behavior. This study borrows from a rational choice framework to explore the relationship between attitudes, perceptions of the risks and rewards of engaging in date rape, and self-reported hypothetical aggression in a date rape scenario. Results suggest that rape-supportive attitudes are related to particular patterns of identified risks and rewards of date rape as well as to the self-reported likelihood of engaging in date rape behavior. This supports a perspective that certain attitude structures may alter the risks and rewards that potential offenders consider in deciding whether or not to engage in sexual aggression. Implications for future research and prevention programs are discussed.
Boulter, C. (1998). "Effects of an acquaintance rape prevention program on male college students' endorsements of rape myth beliefs and sexually coercive behaviors." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 59(3-B): 1411.
The current research examined the effects of an acquaintance rape prevention program, which incorporated a norms challenging component, on male college students' beliefs about rape and appropriate sexual behaviors. Based upon the social comparison process (Festinger, 1954), it was hypothesized that challenging the accuracy of perceived social norms with actual norms that were not supportive of rape myth beliefs or the use of sexually coercive strategies would result in a modification of individuals' beliefs and attitudes. Student volunteers were recruited from fraternity chapters at a large northwestern university. The intact groups received pretest questionnaires that included the Burt Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (1980) and the Acceptance of Sexually Coercive Strategies Scale (Boulter, et al. 1995), which was created for this research. Following administration of the questionnaires the treatment groups participated in a one hour acquaintance rape prevention program. Posttest, at six to seven weeks after the pretest, and follow-up, at ten weeks after the posttest, measures were administered to all groups to assess the degree and stability of attitude change. Perceptions of others beliefs were significantly more rape supportive than personally reported beliefs, which supported the use of the norms challenging model; however, a significant treatment effect was not found.
Brown, A. L. and T. L. Messman-Moore (2010). "Personal and perceived peer attitudes supporting sexual aggression as predictors of male college students' willingness to intervene against sexual aggression." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 25(3): 503-517.
Male college students (N = 395) completed anonymous surveys to report personal attitudes supporting sexual aggression and estimated the attitudes of their peers. Participants also indicated their willingness to intervene against a peer if they witnessed sexual aggression. Although both personal and peer attitudes were correlated with willingness to intervene, in regression analyses only perceived peer attitudes emerged as a significant predictor of willingness to intervene. Results suggest that personal attitudes supporting sexual aggression are not as relevant to men's willingness to intervene against sexual aggression as are perceived peer norms regarding sexual aggression. Findings are relevant to sexual assault prevention education with men, suggesting that attempts to encourage bystander intervention may be best presented in the context of challenging perceived norms.
Bruner, J. (2003). "Measuring rape-supportive attitudes, behaviors, and perceived peer norms among college men: Validation of a social norms survey." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 63(7-B): 3466.
The psychometric properties of a new survey, developed by the researcher, were examined. The survey, designed specifically for college students, measured attitudes and behaviors related to sexual assault from a social norms perspective. The sample was made up of 798 undergraduate students at a Western, public university. Because social norms theory is built on the premise that students misperceive norms among their peers to be more negative than is actually the case, students were asked to respond to each item twice. After answering the items they were asked to answer the same items as the average male student would respond. In this way, comparisons could be made between male students' responses and their perceptions of their peers. The analyses indicated that the survey had a high level of internal consistency, with a Cronbach's alpha of .86. Exploratory factor analysis supported a modified version of the four proposed subscales of the survey including Bystander Behavior, Comfort With Sexism, Rape-Supportive Attitudes & Behaviors, and Sexual Behavior. Cronbach's alpha for the subscales ranged from .63 to .84, with corrected item-to-total correlations ranging from .24 to .69. The data revealed significant differences between male subjects' own attitudes and behaviors, and their perceptions of the attitudes and behaviors of others. Subjects indicated that the average male student had a higher level of agreement with rape-supportive attitudes, was more comfortable with sexist language and behavior, and was less willing to intervene when witnessing violence against women than themselves. Male subjects' overestimated the average male student's frequency of sexual intercourse as well as the average male students' number of sexual partners. Further research is needed to examine the test-retest reliability of the survey and its use with other campus populations, as the results may not generalize beyond the current sample. The survey provided a tool to be used in collecting social norms data, and evaluating the effectiveness of social norms marketing campaigns. Future research is needed to determine if changing students' misperceptions regarding normative sexual attitudes and behaviors results in attitude and behavior change.
Burgess, G. H. (2007). "Assessment of rape-supportive attitudes and beliefs in college men: development, reliability, and validity of the rape attitudes and beliefs scale." J Interpers Violence 22(8): 973-993.
Discussed is the development and psychometric analysis of a measure of rape-supportive attitudes and beliefs called the Rape Attitudes and Beliefs Scale (RABS), intended for the use with college men. Items were developed from a literature review of "rape myths" that were correlated to some measure of sexual aggression. An exploratory factor analysis using only male participants revealed five factors: a) justifications for sexual aggression based on women's behavior, b) belief that women should hold more responsibility for sexual assault, peer c) pressure/need for sexual status and misreading women's sexual intent, d) acceptance of the use of alcohol and coercive tactics to acquire sexual compliance, and e) dislike for the feminine and acceptance of traditional gender roles. Initial reliability and validity studies were favorable for the RABS, including evidence that these factors were positively related to measures of sexual aggression. Each factor demonstrated differential power to predict sexual aggression, with justifications being the most powerful. Implications for counseling and education are discussed.
Caver, K. A. (2013). "Masculine ideology and college men's reactions to a sexual assault prevention program." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 74(3-B(E)): No Pagination Specified.
Sexual assault in the United States continues to be a major societal problem which often results in serious long-term consequences for the survivors, with perpetrators most commonly being men. Sexual assault prevention programs for college men often lack theories to guide the research and demonstrate mixed results. Previous research has demonstrated that more traditional male gender role identity is linked to sexual assault supportive attitudes and behaviors, suggesting that masculine ideology could be a contributing factor to college men's reactions to a sexual assault prevention program. The purpose of this study was to test a model of how male gender role identity constructs influence college men's' reactions to a sexual assault prevention program through the Elaboration Likelihood Model. Participants were 97 college men, ages 18 to 22. They completed measures of adherence to masculine ideologies, then participated in an hour long sexual assault prevention program focused on bystander prevention, and finally completed measures of central route processing and outcome variables. Structural equation modeling was used to test a model of how masculine ideologies and central route processing contributed to outcome results. These results indicated that men who adhered to more traditional masculine ideologies were less likely to engage in central route processing, a thoughtful processing of the information provided in the prevention program. Additionally, less adherence to traditional masculinity predicted more behavioral intentions to change as a result of the program and less acceptance of rape myths. More engagement in central route processing also predicted more positive outcomes such as behavioral intentions to change and less rape myth acceptance. Results from hierarchical linear regression analysis indicated that central route processing was more influential on the outcome variables than masculine ideology. Implications for this research include support of sexual assault prevention programs based on the Elaboration Likelihood Model as being potentially effective regardless of the men's existing masculine ideologies.
Darnell, D. A. (2012). "Examination of perceived norms and masculinity threat as predictors of college men's behavioral intentions as bystanders in a party gang rape situation." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 73(3-B): 1844.
Sexual assault of women is a well documented phenomenon in U.S. samples, particularly on college campuses. Innovative approaches to prevention encourage men and women to intervene as bystanders in sexual assault situations; however, bystander behavior is notoriously inhibited by a variety of situational factors. This study used a mixed-method approach to better understand the role of situational factors in college men's bystander behavioral intentions in a party gang rape situation. The first aim was to develop an experimental paradigm using vignette methodology to manipulate the amount of masculinity threat present in a party gang rape situation, which could then be used to explore the effect of masculinity threat on men's bystander behavioral intentions. Although I was unable to heighten masculinity threat, findings indicate that a previous relationship with the offenders results in men expecting a typical male college bystander to experience less negative affect in the situation. The second aim was to use the vignettes to examine whether men's perception of the rape-supportive and traditional masculine gender role norms among the offenders involved, as well as indicators of masculinity threat, would predict men's bystander behavioral intentions. Boding well for bystander intervention programs, the majority (98%) of men reported intention to intervene to stop the assault to some degree, although this intention was lower for men who perceived the party gang rape situation to result in more negative affect for a typical college male bystander. Data depicts the party gang rape situation as one in which masculine norms and masculinity threat are salient; however, these aspects did not play a role in intentions to intervene. Eighteen percent of men reported some intention to join in the assault, which was predicted by perceived masculine norms and men's demographic characteristics. Findings point to the importance of culturally competent programming and the utility of incorporating a social norms approach in bystander intervention programs. Programs may benefit from addressing concerns about retaliation, particularly as a function of men's relationships to the offenders. A limitation is the exclusion of individual-difference variables to explore whether men's own attitudes interact with situational factors to predict bystander behavioral intentions.
Foubert, J. D. and B. J. Cremedy (2007). "Reactions of men of color to a commonly used rape prevention program: Attitude and predicted behavior changes." Sex Roles 57(1-2): 137-144.
African American, Latino, and Asian first-year college men (36) saw The Men's Program, an all-male rape prevention workshop, and wrote answers to four open-ended questions to determine how men from non-white groups react to a commonly used rape prevention program. Using a multi-stage inductive analysis, participant responses fell into five main themes including reinforced current beliefs and/or no changes, increased awareness of rape and its effects on survivors, increased understanding of consent, plans to intervene if a rape might occur, and plans to change behavior in their own intimate situations. Participants mentioned specific ways in which they planned to change personal behavior, and ways in which they planned to intervene if they saw potentially dangerous situations.
Gidycz, C. A., et al. (2011). "College men's perceived likelihood to perpetrate sexual aggression." Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 20(3): 260-279.
This study implemented a prospective design to explore the relationship between college men's perceived likelihood to perpetrate sexual aggression and their perpetration of sexual aggression over a three-month interim (N = 414). Compared to men's report of their likelihood to use physical force to obtain sex play or sexual intercourse, college men reported higher levels of perceived likelihood to use arguments or pressure to obtain sex play or sexual intercourse as well as drugs and alcohol to obtain sexual intercourse. Prospective analyses revealed that the majority of men who perpetrated sexual aggression over the follow-up period indicated that they were at some risk to do so at the pretest assessment. Implications for sexual assault prevention programming are discussed.
Gregory, D. M. (2010). "The evolution of one male advocate: An autoethnography of rape on campus." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences 70(9-A): 3289.
The study is an autoethnography with focus on the social phenomenon of rape against women. The author explores the topic of rape through the incorporation of contemporary feminist thought, current philosophy on male development, and a review of relevant literature on rape. The author's own experiences with the topic of rape against women coupled with the author's identity as a male researcher vividly depict various social issues facing woman in today's political society. The need to identify ways to increase feminine sense of agency and to encourage the proper socialization of men into manhood serve as the primary factors toward the advancement of rape prevention, rape intervention, and educational programming initiatives in the college environment.
Hamby, S. L. (2005). "Hesitant Allies: Convincing Men That They Should Care About Violence Against Women." PsycCRITIQUES 50(24): No Pagination Specified.
In their book Sexual Assault in Context: Teaching College Men About Gender, Christopher Kilmartin and Alan D. Berkowitz (see record 2005-01976-000) convey their belief that they know why most men do not actively participate in or identify with efforts to reduce violence against women or, for that matter, any antiviolence efforts. The authors believe that cultural definitions of masculinity emphasize competition, dominance, risk taking, sexual prowess, and lack of emotional reactivity. In particular, they point to fears of being seen as unmanly. They suggest that these cultural expectations create gender pressure to conform to male stereotypes. In reality, Kilmartin and Berkowitz say, most men are much more uncomfortable with hostility toward women, sexist jokes, and violent media images than they let on, because they falsely believe that all of the other silent men support these values to a greater extent than is the case. The authors propose that even one dissenting voice--demonstrating the male traits of independence and courage by going against the crowd--will encourage other men to respond more negatively to sexist or violent comments and behaviors. This will help dismantle the existing environment, in which it is common for some men to become violent toward women. Will teaching young men to ask for explicit consent reduce the incidence of coerced sex? Kilmartin and Berkowitz suggest that it will, but they present no data on the epidemiology of sexual assault or on the effectiveness of the various programs they advocate. Although the book is an easy read and is mostly composed of unobjectionable opinions and recommendations, the reviewer finds the lack of scholarly material frustrating. The audience of this book is not likely to be young adults but rather the educators who seek to train them, and surely educators are accustomed to expecting a little more hard evidence to support one's thesis.
Holz, K. B. (2010). "The role of fear of unintentional rape in rape prevention programming response." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 70(10-B): 6553.
This study utilized cluster analysis to group men according to their pre-test rape-related fears as measured by the Fear of Unintentional Rape Inventory (FOURI; Bolton Holz & DiLalla, 2007), prior to participating in a standard psychoeducational rape prevention program for undergraduate students. Cluster analysis resulted in the extraction of the following four clusters, or common patterns of specific rape-related concerns: Men with Legal and Communication Concerns; Men with Fairness and Legal Concerns; Men with Legal, Communication, Fairness, and Alcohol Concerns; and Men with Legal and Alcohol Concerns. MANOVA and chi-square results suggested meaningful differences among the clusters in degree of pretest-posttest change in both likelihood of raping and rape myth acceptance, suggesting that measuring and grouping men according to their rape-related fears may be potentially useful in increasing the effectiveness of rape prevention programs.
Holz, K. B. and D. L. DiLalla (2007). "Men's fear of unintentional rape: Measure development and psychometric evaluation." Psychology of Men & Masculinity 8(4): 201-214.
The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate the psychometric properties of the Fear of Unintentional Rape Inventory (FOURI), a measure of men's concerns that one could rape a woman without realizing that she did not want to have sex. Although the authors do not propose that one could actually rape a woman unintentionally, it is possible that this unrealistic fear may impede change in rape-supportive attitudes and behavior. Results supported the reliability and validity of the FOURI in a sample of college men (N=274). Exploratory factor analyses suggested that the FOURI consists of four factors: personal legal concerns regarding accusations of rape, sexual communication concerns, the view that rape laws are unfair to men, and personal concerns that alcohol may result in unintentional rape. Because of the general ineffectiveness of rape prevention programs in producing long-term changes in men's rape-supportive attitudes and behaviors, future studies should evaluate the effectiveness of matching men to programs that specifically address their fears as assessed by the FOURI.
Hoyt, T. V. (2011). "Person- and situation-level factors predicting sexually aggressive behavior in college men's responses to analogue dating and social situations." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 72(4-B): 2438.
The current study employed multilevel modeling to evaluate person- and situation-level influences on men's sexual aggression. Three hundred and fifty college men completed a survey of risk factors for sexually aggressive behavior and provided written responses to a set of vignettes depicting dating and social situations involving sexual victimization risk. At the person-level, a combined measure of impersonal sex and hostile masculinity, a lack of victim empathy, greater heterosocial perception, earlier age of first sex, and number of lifetime partners were significant predictors of sexually aggressive responses. The effect of victim empathy was mediated by heterosocial perception. At the situation-level, alcohol use, social isolation, previous sexual contact, and less effective responses from the woman involved were significant predictors of sexual aggression. The presence of multiple situational risk factors further increased risk. The predictive power of person-level factors depended on the presence of situational factors. Person-level risk factors showed a stronger relationship to sexually aggressive responses in the context of situational risk factors. These findings indicate the need for assessing both person-level and situation-level factors in research and sexual assault prevention programs.
Kaplan, R. S. (1993). "Normative masculinity and sexual aggression among college males." Dissertation Abstracts International 53(8-A): 3005.
Kilmartin, C., et al. (2008). "A real time social norms intervention to reduce male sexism." Sex Roles 59(3-4): 264-273.
College males' overestimation of peers' sexism may result in reluctance to challenge these toxic attitudes. Researchers investigated the power of a brief intervention to correct these cognitive distortions in Southeastern U.S. undergraduate samples of unacquainted (N=65; 86.2% Caucasian) and acquainted males (N=63; 82% Caucasian). Participants first reported selfperceptions of attitudes toward women and then estimated the attitudes of other men present. Intervention participants attended brief presentations that included feedback on discrepancies between actual and perceived norms within their groups. At 3 week follow up, there was a significant decrease in perceptions of peers' sexism for intervention groups, indicating that a brief intervention may be useful in sexism reduction.
Newman, B. S. and I. Colon (1994). "Beliefs about rape among college males: A revision of the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale." College Student Journal 28(1): 10-17.
Surveyed 356 male college students (aged 18-48 yrs) to gauge their attitudes toward rape. A pool of 37 items was analyzed using factor and reliability analyses. A 24-item scale is proposed for use with college males, a target population for prevention efforts because of their high incidence of date rape.
Nunes, K. L. and C. Pettersen (2011). "Competitive disadvantage makes attitudes towards rape less negative." Evol Psychol 9(4): 509-521.
Evolutionary theorists have argued that perceived competitive disadvantage may lead to more positive evaluation of, and greater likelihood of engaging in, risky and antisocial behavior. However, experimental studies have not yet examined the effects of competitive disadvantage on perceptions of rape. In the current study, we created a manipulation of perceived competitive status to test its effects on beliefs about rape. In one condition, participants were made to feel disadvantaged relative to male peers in terms of financial, physical, and intellectual power, whereas in the other condition they were made to feel advantaged. Participants were 120 heterosexual male undergraduate students. The manipulation was effective; compared to participants in the advantage condition, those in the disadvantage condition rated themselves as significantly worse off financially, shorter, in worse physical shape, and as having lower course marks than the average male student at the university. Compared to perceived competitive advantage, perceived disadvantage led to less negative attitudes towards rape. However, perceived competitive status did not significantly affect justifications and excuses for rape. Future studies using similar experimental manipulations can complement correlational studies and may contribute to greater clarity, precision, and sophistication of research and theory on the role of competitive disadvantage in rape.
O'Donohue, W., et al. (1996). "Rape: The roles of outcome expectancies and hypermasculinity." Sexual Abuse: Journal of Research and Treatment 8(2): 133-141.
Outcome expectancies regarding coercive sexual behavior of male undergraduates were investigated to understand their possible association with self-reported past and future coercive sexual behavior and hypermasculine personality styles. Subjects indicating lower negative outcome expectancies regarding rape reported a greater history of coercive sexual behavior and higher future likelihood of raping, and were more likely to fit a hypermasculine personality pattern. Regression analysis revealed that a hypermasculine personality style, self-reported likelihood of raping, and the interaction between rape outcome expectancies and hypermasculine personality best predicted a history of sexual coercion. Implications for future research and primary prevention are discussed.
O'Donohue, W., et al. (2003). "Rape prevention with college males: The roles of rape myth acceptance, victim empathy, and outcome expectancies." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 18(5): 513-531.
This study investigated the immediate impact of a video-based prevention program developed to decrease undergraduate men's potential to commit rape. Three video segments (rape myth acceptance, victim empathy, and outcome expectancies) were developed through expert consultation and focus groups. Evidence for the construct validity of each component was evaluated by examining change scores in a pilot study of 101 male undergraduates (mean age 22 yrs) on measures of rape myth acceptance, victim empathy, and outcome expectancies. In the main study, 102 male undergraduates (mean age 20 yrs) were randomly assigned to either the experimental program consisting of the video-based intervention or an equivalently long, alternate video-based program judged to contain none of the experimental elements. Results indicate that the experimental video produced greater immediate changes on measures of rape myth acceptance, attitudes toward interpersonal violence, adversarial sexual beliefs, attraction to sexual aggression, rape empathy, and self-efficacy ratings. Limitations of this study and directions for future research with college men are discussed.
Piccigallo, J. R., et al. (2012). ""it's cool to care about sexual violence": Men's experiences with sexual assault prevention." Men and Masculinities 15(5): 507-525.
We explore the paths related to college men's involvement in all-male antirape prevention groups using in-depth interviews conducted with twenty-five male college students who are active members of such groups from eleven campuses located on the East Coast of the United States. Major themes deriving from analysis of the interviews were all related to the engagement of the participants with the programs on four different levels. These themes, which are developmentally related, are (1) a disclosure which makes sexual assault a personal issue at the same time that it reveals a lack of knowledge and skills on the part of the respondents, (2) the evaluation of the approach of individual programs, (3) the evaluation of the relative effectiveness of the approacher, and (4) the creation of a social context which the engagement facilitates. Overall, we find that when the men in our study were approached in a nonconfrontational, alliance-building fashion by other men, they reported that their knowledge related to sexual assault, their empathy toward sexual assault survivors, and their motivation to actively engage in the prevention of sexual violence all increased. Thus, we see evidence of a pathway to behavioral change represented by the recruitment and participation of men to these programs.
Rich, M. D., et al. (2010). ""I'd rather be doing something else:" Male resistance to rape prevention programs." The Journal of Men's Studies 18(3): 268-288.
Although scholars have argued that sexual assault is a growing crisis on college campuses, there are few studies that highlight the ways in which college men communicate their feelings about sexual assault education. This pilot study fills that void by highlighting college male students' voices. Using open-ended questions and thematic analysis, the authors noted how respondents confirmed and contradicted earlier findings. The authors conclude by offering future directions for prevention educators and gender studies teacher-scholars.
Sherrod, N. B. (2003). "A few good men ii: Distinguishing between men with high and low endorsement of rape-supportive attitudes." Dissertation Abstracts International Section A: Humanities and Social Sciences 63(12-A): 4235.
This study examined personality and masculinity-related constructs that distinguish college men with high endorsement (HE) of rape supportive attitudes from those with low endorsement of rape supportive attitudes (LE). Over one thousand college men participated in a screening using two measures of rape supportive attitudes. Eighty-eight individuals with the highest and lowest combined z-scores on the Rape Myth Acceptance and Adversarial Sexual Beliefs scales (Burt, 1980) were asked to complete a series of paper and pencil measures of personality and masculinity-related variables. Personality was measured with the NEO PI-R Personality Inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Masculinity-related constructs included endorsement of egalitarian sex roles, male gender role norms, gender role conflict, and the gender role journey. Anger, self-esteem, consideration of future consequences, need for cognition, and alcohol use were also examined with relation to group membership. A discriminant function analysis using a three-predictor model accounted for 62% of the variance in distinguishing HE and LE individuals. Angry hostility and acceptance of gender roles differentiated the groups, with positive emotions acting as a suppressor variable. The majority of the variables were associated with HE or LE group membership in a correlation analysis. Post-hoc analyses suggested that HE men are characterized by incongruent endorsement of gender-related constructs and have a personality profile that is consistent with borderline, passive-aggressive, and narcissistic personality disorder features. LE men appear to be psychologically healthy individuals. Implications for theory, future research, and rape prevention are discussed.
Swartout, K. M. (2013). "The company they keep: How peer networks influence male sexual aggression." Psychology of Violence 3(2): 157-171.
Objective: The goal of the present study was to add to knowledge concerning predictors of sexually aggressive behaviors by extending an existing model of sexual aggression to include attitudinal and structural variables of participants' peer groups. Method: A battery of questionnaires was administered to 341 college-aged men via web-based survey. Participants were asked to report their previous sexual behavior, attitudes toward women and sexual aggression, the strength of relationships within their peer network, and their peers' attitudes toward women and sexual aggression. Results: Findings suggest perceived peer rape-supportive attitudes significantly influence individual members' hostile attitudes toward women. Peer network density negatively predicted hostile attitudes-individuals with tightly knit peer groups tend to have less hostile attitudes toward women; there was a significant interaction between peer group density and perceived peer rape-supportive attitudes in predicting individuals' hostile attitudes toward women-individuals in high-density, low-hostility peer groups had the lowest average levels of hostility toward women. Conclusion: The present findings suggest perceived peer attitudes and structure of peer networks influence individuals' attitudes concerning violence and hostility toward women, factors long known to predict both physical and sexual violence against women. These findings may be implemented through peer-focused bystander intervention programs aimed at reducing sexual aggression.
Yates, P. M. (1997). "An investigation of factors associated with definitions and perceptions of rape, propensity to commit rape, and rape prevention." Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering 57(10-B): 6601.
Two studies investigated the impact of personal and situational factors on perceptions of rape and on rape prevention. A pretest study (N = 652) indicated that 10.3% of university males self-reported some likelihood that they would commit rape if they were assured they would not be caught or punished, while 26.0% self-reported some likelihood that they would use sexual force under these same conditions. Study 1 (N = 120) assessed the impact of individual propensity to commit rape and stereotyped expectations about rape on various perceptions. Results indicated that a higher propensity to commit rape and/or use sexual force was associated with greater perceived rewards and costs for the commission of rape, perceptions of greater peer support for the commission of rape, and with a narrower definition of behaviours which constitute rape. Stereotyped expectations, specifically with respect to the prior relationship between the assailant and the woman who was raped and the nature of the woman's nonconsent to the sexual activity, also differentially influenced these perceptions. Behaviour which was not consistent with stereotyped expectations about rape was less likely to be regarded as rape and was more likely to be associated with greater rewards and peer support and fewer costs, than behaviour which was consistent with stereotyped expectations, particularly by men with a higher propensity to commit rape. Study 2 (N = 120) examined the impact of situational factors on the feasibility of rape prevention through peer intervention in which men target other men. Results indicated that stereotyped expectations and the composition of an accompanying peer group differentially influenced respondents in a manner which was generally inconsistent with a priori hypotheses. Specifically, it was hypothesized that a peer group which was supportive of taking action to intervene in a situation for which there was a risk of rape occurring would facilitate a negative response to the situation and a greater likelihood of intervening in the situation to prevent rape. However, results indicated that a peer group which was supportive of intervention, in interaction with situational characteristics, appeared to inhibit men from taking responsibility for intervening with a male peer who was at risk to commit rape, while a peer group which was not supportive of intervention facilitated peer intervention. Although not hypothesized a priori, in both studies, the specific dating situation in which the rape occurred differentially influenced responding in a manner consistent with stereotyped expectations about rape. Results are discussed in terms of the feasibility of peer intervention among men to prevent rape and the importance of situational characteristics as a component of prevention efforts.