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The effects of rape myth acceptance and gender role beliefs on perceptions of date rape

Reynolds, Aimee (2017) The effects of rape myth acceptance and gender role beliefs on perceptions of date rape. Liverpool John Moores University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Date rape is a common crime which typically involves the victim knowing and trusting the perpetrator. However, society’s beliefs about rape do not normally conform to this idea (Anderson, 2007). Pre-existing beliefs, such as the acceptance of rape myths and traditional gender role beliefs, have been shown to influence people’s perceptions of a date rape scenario (Grubb & Turner, 2012). This has huge implications for the criminal justice system. The study aims to see if participants’ perceptions of victim and perpetrator responsibility, impact, punishment and guilt of a date rape scenario differs across rape myth acceptance levels, and gender role beliefs. The study also aims to investigate whether these two factors can predict participants’ perceptions of date rape. The study used an opportunity sample of 200 Liverpool John Moores University students, all over the age of 18. The results indicate that perceptions of responsibility, impact, punishment and guilt differ across rape myth acceptance levels and gender role beliefs. Rape myth acceptance and traditional gender role beliefs were significant predictors of date rape perceptions. The study concluded that rape myth acceptance, and gender role beliefs, can affect people’s perceptions of date rape. The endorsement of rape myths and having traditional gender role beliefs can facilitate victim blaming in a date rape scenario. Future research should seek to examine these pre-existing beliefs in medical and criminal justice personnel, as these are the people with whom a date rape victim may interact with after an assault

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