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Rape Myth Acceptance and Sociodemographic Characteristics: A Multidimensional Analysis


Many myths have been identified surrounding rape, rapists, and rape victims. This study reexamines the acceptance of rape myths across gender role ideologies and selected demographic characteristics to identify core myths. Three myth categories were established and investigated: blaming the woman, excusing the man, and justifications for acquaintance rape. Findings indicate that rape myths remain prevalent and adherence to myths is related to demographic factors and gender role attitudes. Overall, respondents tend to excuse the man more than blame the woman. Males accept rape myths more than females. Racial differences emerged most strongly on the justifications for acquaintance rape dimension. Individuals with a conservative gender role ideology believe rape myths more than those with more liberal ideologies. While core myths did not emerge from the data, the most revealing finding is that summative scaling techniques used in previous studies may mask important differences, between and within the three dimensions, in rape myth acceptance among the groups studied.

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Johnson, B.E., Kuck, D.L. & Schander, P.R. Rape Myth Acceptance and Sociodemographic Characteristics: A Multidimensional Analysis. Sex Roles 36, 693–707 (1997).

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  • Gender Role
  • Racial Difference
  • Sociodemographic Characteristic
  • Scaling Technique
  • Gender Role Attitude