ERIC Number: ED347429
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Why Do Women Accept the Rape Myth?
Tabone, Christopher; And Others
The rape myth, defined as prejudicial, stereotyped, or false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapists, is accepted by individuals from varied walks of life, including women. It has been suggested that rape myth acceptance (RMA) among women serves a protective function by enabling women to dissociate themselves from a rape victim's experience. This notion was tested by relating RMA to measures of defensiveness and perceived vulnerability. It was hypothesized that RMA among women lessens perceived vulnerability and that, if the RMA-perceived vulnerability linkage is indicative of defensiveness, it should emerge mainly among individuals who manifest a more pervasive defensive behavioral style. An expanded version of Burt's (1980) RMA scale, which included beliefs about the rapist as well as about the nature of the social setting in which rape occurs, and measures of defensiveness, self-esteem, and perceived vulnerability to rape were completed by 122 female and 56 male college students. Results from the female students revealed a significant negative correlation between RMA and perceived vulnerability. However, moderated regression analysis revealed that the relationship was contingent on level of defensiveness: the RMA-perceived vulnerability linkage emerged only for high-defensive individuals. Similar findings emerged on a measure of self-esteem (e.g., RMA related positively with self-esteem for high defensiveness), suggesting that perceptions of self-adequacy are maintained by defensive RMA. (NB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Rape Myths
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (63rd, Boston, MA, April 3-5, 1992).