Advertisement

Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 664–679 | Cite as

College Student Perceptions of Hypothetical Rape Disclosures: Do Relational and Demographic Variables Pose a Risk on Disclosure Believability?

  • Tara M. Emmers-SommerEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation is to examine male and female students’ perceived believability of various rape disclosures, manipulated by the relationship (e.g., best friend, neighborhood woman) between the discloser and recipient as well as by various demographic characteristics of the discloser (e.g., gender, race, age). Data were collected online from 777 college students at a large southwestern university, of which 60 students did not report their gender. Of those participants who did report their gender, 342 are men and 375 are women. The average age of the sample is 22.23 years old (SD = 5.53). Results indicate that men and women do not differ in terms of reported believability of a discloser’s false rape disclosure to serve an ulterior motive of getting revenge on a man or falsifying a rape due to pregnancy. However, an examination of male and female students’ reports of discloser believability when examining various relational and demographic factors (i.e., best friend, neighborhood woman, young boy, Indian woman, white woman, black woman), indicate that women and men significantly differ in that women are more inclined to believe the discloser of the rape than men. Within gender differences also exist in terms of believability. Discussion and future directions follow.

Keywords

Culture Race Gender Class Sexualities 

Notes

Compliance of Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author is not aware of any conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study received approval from the university’s IRB.

References

  1. Abrens, C. E. (2006). Being silenced: The impact of negative social reactions on the disclosure of rape. American Journal of Community Psychology, 38, 263–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Altman, I., & Taylor, D. A. (1973). Social penetration: The development of interpersonal relationships. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.Google Scholar
  3. American Psychological Association. (2002). Developing adolescents: A reference for professionals. Washington: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. Brody, L. (2001). Gender, emotion and the family. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 217–230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dunn, P. C., Vail-Smith, K., & Knight, S. M. (1999). What date/acquaintance rape victims tell others: A study of college student recipients of disclosure. Journal of American College Health, 47(5), 213–219. doi: 10.1080/07448489909595650.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eisenberg, N., Betkowski, J., & Spinrad, T. L. (2013). Age-related changes in empathy-related responding. In D. Hermans, B. Rime, & B. Mesquita (Eds.), Changing emotions (pp. 17–23). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  8. Emmers-Sommer, T. M., & Allen, M. (1999). Variables related to sexual coercion: A path model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 16, 659–678.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Emmers-Sommer, T. M., Triplett, L., Pauley, P., Hanzal, A., & Rhea, D. (2005). The impact of film manipulation on men’s and women’s attitudes toward women and film editing. Sex Roles, 52, 683–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gray, E. (2014). Why victims of rape in college don’t report to the police. Retrieved from: http://time.com/2905637/campus-rape-assault-prosecution/.
  11. Paul, L. A., Walsh, K., McCauley, J. L., Ruggiero, K. J., Resnick, H. S., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (2013). College women’s experience with rape disclosure: A national study. Violence Against Women, XX, 1–17.Google Scholar
  12. Petronio, S. (2013). Brief status report on communication privacy management theory. Journal of Family Communication, 13, 6–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Petronio, S., & Martin, J. N. (1986). Ramifications of revealing private information: A gender gap. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 42, 499–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Schneider, L. J., Mori, L. T., Lambert, P. L., & Wong, A. O. (2009). The role of gender and ethnicity in perceptions of rape and its aftereffects. Sex Roles, 60(5-6), 410–421.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Toussaint, L., & Webb, J. R. (2005). Gender differences in the relationship between empathy and forgiveness. Journal of Social Psychology, 145(6), 673–685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Wallis, L. (2013). Is 25 the new cut off point for adulthood? BBC News Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24173194.
  17. White House Council on Women and Girls and the Office of the President (2014). Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action. Retrieved https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/sexual_assault_report_1-21-14.pdf.
  18. Woollaston, V. (2013). An adult at 18? Not anymore: Adolescence now ends at 25 to prevent young people getting an inferiority complex. DailyMail.com. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2430573/An-adult-18-Not-Adolescence-ends-25-prevent-young-people-getting-inferiority-complex.html.
  19. World Health Organization (n.d.) Adolescent health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/topics/adolescent_health/en/.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication StudiesUniversity of NevadaLas VegasUSA

Personalised recommendations