Sex Roles

, Volume 42, Issue 9, pp 807-823

First online:

Beliefs About the Causes of Four Types of Rape

  • Gloria CowanAffiliated withCalifornia State University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Beliefs about the causes of stranger, acquaintance, date, and partner rape and treatment and punishment for the types of rape were examined among college students. Three causes of rape—victim precipitation, male pathology, and male hostility—varied as a function of the type of rape, with female precipitation higher for partner and date rape than for acquaintance and stranger rape. Male hostility and male pathology were lowest for partner rape. These findings suggest that the perceived causes of rape that blame the perpetrator or victim, rather than societal or general causes of rape, vary with the type of rape. Recommended punishment varied directly with the closeness of the relationship. Additionally, gender differences and interactions of gender and ethnicity (Caucasian and Hispanics) were found across type of rape.