Sex Roles

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 85-100

First online:

Acceptance of male rape myths among college men and women

  • Cindy Struckman-JohnsonAffiliated withUniversity of South Dakota
  • , David Struckman-JohnsonAffiliated withUniversity of South Dakota

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College students (157 men and 158 women; predominantly white middle class) from psychology courses at a midwestern university rated their agreement with statements reflecting myths that male rape cannot happen, involves victim blame, and is not traumatic to men. Statements varied by whether the rape perpetrator was a man or woman. Results showed that a majority of subjects disagreed with all myth statements, but most strongly with trauma myths. Percentages of disagreement with myths for subject groups ranged from 51% to 98%. Women were significantly more rejecting of rape myths than were men. Subjects were more likely to accept myths in which the rape perpetrator was female rather than male. Subjects' past victim experience with sexual coercion was not related to rape myth acceptance. Results are discussed in terms of societal attitudes toward rape and sex role stereotypes.