Rape myths play a pivotal role in the social construction of rape. Rape myths exonerate rapists, legitimize sexual aggression, and consequently, foster sexual aggression. Contemporary rape myths include: men cannot be raped, there must be physical resistance for it to be rape, and rape victims are partly responsible for their rape because they engaged in risky behaviors (e.g., they dressed provocatively, got drunk, or signaled a desire for sex). Rape myths help to create a victim who is blamed for the event and lead to secondary victimization when victims disclose the rape. Myths can be held at the individual level, at an institutional level, and at a cultural level. These myths can prevent victims from recognizing that they were raped and prevent assailants from understanding that they raped. They create a justice gap in which police, lawyers, and juries impose their beliefs concerning real rape on rape survivors. And, rape myths can create cultures in which rape is acceptable when it is perpetrated against legitimate targets. These rape myths are especially likely in some male-dominated peer groups (e.g., fraternities, athletic groups, or the military). Recognizing rape mythology helps people to understand the true nature of many rapes and is essential in the fight against rape.
- Gender gap
- Justice gap
- Justice system
- Rape education
- Rape myths
- Rape myth scales
- Rape prevention
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Ryan, K.M. (2019). Rape Mythology and Victim Blaming as a Social Construct. In: O’Donohue, W.T., Schewe, P.A. (eds) Handbook of Sexual Assault and Sexual Assault Prevention. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-23645-8_9
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