Attitudes toward rape: Gender and ethnic differences across Asian and Caucasian college students

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated that males have a greater tendency to hold erroneous beliefs about rape than females. However, limited cross-cultural studies, particularly of Asians, have been done in this area. The present investigation examined attitudes toward rape victims and belief in rape myths across 302 Asian and Caucasian college students. Subjects were recruited from two college campuses in Orange County, California, and were from predominantly middle-income backgrounds. None of the Caucasian students and a minority (36.25%) of the Asian subjects identified their particular ethnic group(s) of origin. Of the Asian subjects who specified their ethnicity, the majority were of Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander descent. Results indicated significant differences across ethnicity and gender. Asians were more likely to endorse negative attitudes toward rape victims and greater belief in rape myths than their Caucasian counterparts; males endorsed greater negativity toward rape victims and more acceptance of rape myths than did females. Asian subjects who endorsed greater acculturation (Western affiliation) differed significantly from low acculturated subjects on all dependent variables. Results are discussed in regard to cross-cultural differences and gender. Culturally sensitive rape awareness outreach targeting potentially high risk groups, such as Asian college students, is encouraged.

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Correspondence to Lisa Mori.

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Mori, L., Bernat, J.A., Glenn, P.A. et al. Attitudes toward rape: Gender and ethnic differences across Asian and Caucasian college students. Sex Roles 32, 457–467 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01544182

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Keywords

  • Negative Attitude
  • Ethnic Difference
  • Pacific Islander
  • College Campus
  • Rape Myth