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Rape Myths and Beyond: A Commentary on Edwards and Colleagues (2011)


This article comments on Edwards et al. (2011) who review the state of the current literature on rape myths, defined as “prejudicial, stereotyped or false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists” (Burt 1980; p. 217). I argue that while studying rape myths is important to understanding the persistence of sexual assault against women in Western societies, other factors that contribute to this problem need to be considered. Specifically, I focus on the importance of examining societal messages regarding women’s sexuality, as well as examining how individuals conceptualize and define rape more broadly. I conclude by discussing directions for moving toward producing real changes in the prevalence of sexual violence as well as ways to intervene more effectively with victims of sexual violence.

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Correspondence to Heather Littleton.

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Littleton, H. Rape Myths and Beyond: A Commentary on Edwards and Colleagues (2011). Sex Roles 65, 792–797 (2011).

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  • Sexual assault
  • Rape acknowledgment
  • Sexual scripts
  • Gender roles
  • Rape myths