, Volume 53, Issue 5-6, pp 385-399

Rape Perceptions, Gender Role Attitudes, and Victim-Perpetrator Acquaintance

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The connection between rape perceptions, gender role attitudes, and victim-perpetrator acquaintance was examined. One hundred fifty Israeli students rated their perceptions of the victim, the perpetrator, the situation, and the appropriate punishment, after reading scenarios in which rape was committed by a neighbor, an ex-boyfriend, and a current life partner. Significant negative correlations were found between gender-role attitudes and four measures of rape perceptions. “Traditionals” minimized the severity of all rapes more than “Egalitarians” did. As the acquaintance level increased, there was a greater tendency to minimize the severity of the rape, in the perceptions of the victim, the situation, and the punishment; the situation was characterized less as rape, and was perceived as less violating of the victim's rights and less psychologically damaging. Women tended to have more egalitarian attitudes than men did, and women were less likely to minimize the severity of the rape in the measures of perceptions of the situation and the appropriate punishment.