Oppression through acceptance? predicting rape myth acceptance and attitudes toward rape victims
Rape myths such as ‘only bad women get raped’ and ‘women ask for it’ serve to blame the victim and exonerate the rapist. As reported rapes in the United States increased at unprecedented rates in the late 1960s and the 1970s, many researchers began to investigate psychological aspects of rape, such as attitudes toward rape victims and beliefs about rape. Some studies found that likelihood to rape was correlated with men’s false beliefs that victims enjoyed it. This study examines the relationships among individuals’ acceptance of rape myths, their negative attitudes toward rape victims, and their general intergroup dominance and sex-based oppression.
Feminist theories of rape motivation are based on research suggesting a relationship between dominance and sexual aggression. However, the relationship between dominance and rape myth acceptance (RMA), a predictor of rape proclivity and sexual aggression and a key component in feminist theory, is understudied. The current study tests the hypotheses that individuals’ scores on sex-based oppression and intergroup dominance measures will improve the predictive models for RMA and attitudes toward rape and rape victims. The hypotheses are supported. Individuals’ general intergroup dominance and sex-based oppression attitudes provide significant unique prediction beyond previously studied predictors of attitudes about rape and rape victims.
Hockett, J., Saucier, D., Hoffman, B., Smith, S., & Craig, A. (2009). Oppression Through Acceptance?: Predicting Rape Myth Acceptance and Attitudes Toward Rape Victims Violence Against Women, 15 (8), 877-897 DOI: 10.1177/1077801209335489