University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

A Systematic Review of Female and Male Rape Mythology: Implications for the Feminist Rape Mythology Hypothesis and Socioecological Research Exploring Male Rape and Sexual Assault.

Scurlock-Evans, Laura ORCID:, Mahoney, Berenice ORCID: and Davies, M. (2012) A Systematic Review of Female and Male Rape Mythology: Implications for the Feminist Rape Mythology Hypothesis and Socioecological Research Exploring Male Rape and Sexual Assault. In: PsyPAG 2012, 18th-20th July, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. (Unpublished)

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This presentation will provide an overview of a systematic literature review conducted as part of on-going doctoral research. Implications of the review findings for current understanding of rape mythology and researching aspects of sexual violence and its consequences will be discussed.

What are rape myths?
Rape myths (RMs) are pervasive "…stereotypical or false beliefs about the culpability of victims, the innocence of rapists, and the illegitimacy of rape as a serious crime" (p.2-3, Chapleau, Oswald & Russell, 2008), which have been observed across cultures (Oh & Neville, 2004) and history (Brownmiller, 1975). Historically the majority of research into RMs has focused on female survivors, where the sexual violence was perpetrated by a male (Chapleau, Oswald & Russell, 2008; Bullock & Beckson, 2011). The limited research available into male rape mythology has tended to focus on incidents where the perpetrator was also male. However, greater recognition that both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence can be of both genders now exists and is reflected in some rape mythology research (Turchik & Edwards, 2012).
Rape mythology has been implicated in serious consequences for survivor's reporting (Bachman, 1993; Suarez & Gadalla, 2010) and prosecution decisions (Anders, 2007), criminal justice outcomes (Campbell & Johnson, 1997; Anders, 2007) survivor recovery and wellbeing (Mezey & King, 1989; Yamawaki, Darby, & Queiroz, 2007) and rape proclivity (Bohner et al., 1999).

Female RMs
Common female RMs include: "true assaults" are those in which the assailant was a stranger and used significant force to subdue the victim, and "true victims" are women who have not engaged in any form of "risky" behaviour prior to an assault (Anders, 2007).

Male RMs
Common male RMs include: it is impossible for men to be raped, men are somewhat to blame for their attack and men are not as adversely affected by rape as female victims (Turchik & Edwards, 2012).

The Feminist Rape Mythology Hypothesis (FRMH)
The FRMH suggests the more characteristics a survivor and assault share with a stereotypical "real victim/real assault" (referred to as Characteristics Congruent with Rape Mythology: CCRMs), the more likely an individual is to be believed and supported (Anders, 2007). CCRMs have been used in socioecological research to explore female sexual re-victimisation (Grauerholz, 2000) and prosecution decisions (Anders, 2007) with some success. However, to date no research has explicitly adapted this hypothesis for use with male RMs.

Some research suggests a degree of similarity between male and female RMs. However, further work is required to fully explore the overlap between rape mythology for survivors and offenders of both genders. This will allow the utility of the FRMH with male RMs to be assessed, which may provide a framework within which to explore important issues in male sexual victimisation, and ultimately a means to synthesise research findings for male and female sexual violence.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: rape mythology, sexual violence, male rape, sexual assault
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Laura Scurlock-Evans
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2013 07:40
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 16:59

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