Multi-comparisons of rape and rape myth endorsement through analysis of existing modified rape myth items

Granger, K 2008, Multi-comparisons of rape and rape myth endorsement through analysis of existing modified rape myth items, Professional Doctorate, Health Sciences, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Multi-comparisons of rape and rape myth endorsement through analysis of existing modified rape myth items
Author(s) Granger, K
Year 2008
Abstract Traditionally, rape has been viewed as a crime perpetrated by men against women. However, it is now recognised that males can also be victims of rape. The current research had several interrelated aims to; (i) provide a profile of both male and female rape victims, (ii) compare the characteristics of rape perpetrated against male and female victims, (iii) estimate the incidence of male and female rape within the general community, (iv) describe the reporting practices of rape victims, and (v) determine the relationship between rape and depression, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts. The community's level of rape myth endorsement was also explored. Rape myths were defined as attitudes and beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists that are generally false but are widely and persistently held, and serve to deny and justify sexual aggression against women and men. The present study compared rape myth endorsement levels concerning both male and female victims. However, it was first necessary to construct a rape myth questionnaire, the Rape Attitudinal Scale (RAQ), which minimised the methodological limitations of pre-existing scales. The current research utilised online methodology and, in total, 560 individuals participated in the research. It was found that almost two out of every five participants had been a victim of rape during their lifetime, with males accounting for 8.60% of the raped sample. Rape victims emanated from a variety of demographic backgrounds and the gender differences between the characteristics of the rape were discussed. Approximately one in seven rape victims stated that they had reported the rape to police, with half of those rape victims regretting informing the police of their experience. Almost twice as many female rape victims than male rape victims failed to report their rape to anyone. It was also found that victims of rape are more likely to report rape to authorities when the rape fits the "real rape" stereotype. It was evident that the trauma of rape and its overall negative sequelae can persist long after the rape has occurred. It was found that rape victims were significantly more likely than non-victims to be classified as depressed, experience suicidal thoughts and had attempted suicide. It was concluded that the RAQ was a reliable and valid measure of individual's rape myth endorsement levels. The underlying nature of rape myths did not differ between male and female victims of rape, although certain rape myths seem to be more applicable to each gender. The majority of the current sample did not endorse rape myths, however participants from particular demographic backgrounds were more likely than others to endorse rape myths. A small, yet alarming, proportion of the current sample reported that they would be likely to rape someone if they could get away with it. Implications of the current findings were discussed in terms of future rape education campaigns that could increase public awareness, increase reporting rates and hopefully reduce the incidence of rape within our society.
Degree Professional Doctorate
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Health Sciences
Keyword(s) Rape -- Australia -- Public opinion
Rape -- Australia-- Psychological aspects
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Created: Mon, 24 Jan 2011, 15:29:56 EST
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