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The word ―rape‖ is derived from the Latin ―rapere‖
meaning to ―steal, seize or carry away‖.
Rape is the oldest means by which a man seized or stole
a wife. A man simply took whichever woman he
wanted, raped her, and then brought her to his tribe as
his possession.
Rape of Mr. Smith
                Rape myths
• Attitudes and beliefs that are generally false
  but widely and persistently held and that
  serve to
  – Deny and justify sexual aggression
  – Justify policies or cultural systems that uphold
    the status quo
  – Blame the victim and exonerate perpetrators
    (Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1994, p 134)
            Myth 1: Rape is sexual
• Rape is not motivated by sexual desire or lust
   – Myth of rape as sexual allows for victim blame—her
     sexuality/clothing/location is on trial
• Rape is a crime of violence and aggression
   – Sex offenders get gratification from intimidating,
     humiliating, and degrading their victims
     Myth 2: Women have an
   unconscious desire to be raped
• Freud: a fundamental feminine trait is
  masochism (in addition to passivity and
  – Men who commit sexual violence are more likely
    to have been taught that men ought to dominate
    and/or that women enjoy suffering (Caplan, 1993)
  – Victim-survivors would strongly disagree with the
    unconscious desire fallacy
   Myth 3: Women routinely lie
       about being raped
• Only ―certain women‖ are raped, primarily
  women with ―bad‖ reputations and those
  from socially marginal or minority groups
   Myth 3: Women routinely lie
• Forcible rape is one of the most
  underreported crimes
  – 1 in 5 stranger rapes & 1 in 50 acquaintance
    rapes are reported to the police
• FBI statistics: 2 – 8% of rape charges were
  unfounded (1977-1991)
  – Unfounded or lacking sufficient evidence?
      Functions of rape myths
• Deny and trivialize a crime that affects a
  substantial proportion of female population
• Shift the blame to the victim
• Mechanism that people use to justify
  dismissing the incident of sexual assault
  from the category of ―real rape‖
• Protect just world beliefs
               Just world beliefs
• Belief that the world is a safe, just place where people
  get what they deserve and deserve what they get
• When evidence suggests otherwise, people are
  reluctant to give up this belief
• In the face of contradicting evidence (Kleinke &
  Meyer, 1996) :
   1. Try to eliminate the suffering of the innocent victims
       • More likely when victim is similar to you, attractive, and
         has high SES
   2. Derogate victims for their fate
       • More likely when victim is innocent
  Rape acceptance and proclivity
• Rape myth acceptance positively affects rape
  proclivity (Bohner, et al., 2006)
• Benevolent and hostile sexism increases
  endorsement of rape myths & blaming the victim
  (Abrams, et al., 2003)
• Current cultural attitudes?
   – In a survey of high school students, 56% of the girls
     and 76% of the boys believed forced sex was
     acceptable under some circumstances
          Incidence of Rape
• 15- 25% of women are raped at some point
  in their lives
  – Estimates are higher on college campuses
  – Estimates are higher depending on country
• Why?
  Incidence on college campuses
A survey of 6,159 college students enrolled at 32
  institutions in the U.S. found the following:

• 54% of women were victims of some form of sexual abuse
   – 57% of the assaults occurred on dates
• 73% of the assailants and 55% of the victims had used
  alcohol or other drugs prior to the assault
• 25% of the men surveyed admitted some degree of
  sexually aggressive behavior
• 42% of the victims told no one
                 Date Rape
• 57% of rapes involve a date (Koss et al., 1988)
• Date rape can result from male-female
  – Alcohol consumption contributes to
  – Social context of dating and the fear of
    embarrassment and rejection
  Sex, Ambivalence, and Sexual Scripts

• Sexual scripts—a set of guidelines prescribing
  appropriate forms of sexual behavior and ways of
  managing sexual encounters
• Think of actors on stage or about normative
   – People do predictable things in a movie theater, football
     game, or party
   – Some heterosexual scripts…………..??
  Sex, Ambivalence, and Sexual Scripts
• Some sexual scripts for women
   –   Be sexy, but don‘t be sexual
   –   Don‘t be a prude, and don‘t be slutty
   –   Let the guy lead
   –   Be compliant, don‘t make a guy feel bad
   –   Be friendly, flirty, but not too flirty
• Scripts for men
   –   Be confident in the bedroom
   –   Always know what to do
   –   Initiate sex
   –   Never say no to sex
   –   Don‘t be vulnerable
              Rape in Military
• 28% of US female veterans reported sexual
  assault during their careers
• In 2008, 1,400 women reported being
  sexually assaulted
                 Marital Rape
• In many states, rape laws exclude the possibility
  of marital rape
• 7-14% of women experience forced sex in
• Marital rape linked to other marital violence
   – Husbands who batter are more likely to also rape
• No typical rapist profile
• 4 factors predispose men to rape women
   –   Violent home environment
   –   Delinquency
   –   Sexual promiscuity
   –   Hostile masculine personality
• Empathy reduces a man‘s likelihood of raping
   – Empathy training for rapists
                 Causes of Rape
• Data indicate that many factors contribute to rape
   – Cultural values (e.g., acceptance of rape myth)
   – Sexual scripts (e.g., male as sexual aggressor)
   – Early family influences of rapist (e.g., history of sexual
   – Peer group influences (e.g., initiation rituals)
   – Characteristics of the situation (e.g., war)
   – Characteristics of the victim (e.g., active resistance)
   – Miscommunication (e.g., men misread women‘s friendliness)
   – Sex and power motives (e.g., expression of dominance)
   – Masculinity norms & men‘s attitudes (e.g., rapists are more
     traditionally masculine)
              Theories of Rape
•   Evolutionary Theory
•   Social Learning Theory
•   Feminist Theory
•   Social Role Theory
     – What reasons might theories provide for why
       rape occurs?
     – What evidence would support the theory?
               Theories of Rape
• Evolutionary: Rape is an evolved strategy for gene
      • Evidence: Sushcinsky & Lalumiere (2011)
          – 30 p‘s watched 14, 2-min recordings narratives read by a
            women from her own perspective
          – Videos varied in gender, violence, and consent
• Social Learning: Social behaviors are learned
  through observation and reinforcement
   – Includes supportive attitudes toward rape and
     aggressive behavior
      • Evidence: pornography and rap music
              Theories of Rape
• Social Role Theory
  – Men‘s greater strength coupled with the division of
    labor in which men have high status positions creates
    beliefs about the masculine gender role that are tied to
    status and domination
• Feminist/Gendered Power
  – Rape is rooted in the longstanding pervasive power
    imbalances between women and men. Men use rape to
    control women and maintain dominance
     • Evidence: relationship between gender equality and incidence
       of rape and domestic violence
           Reaction to Rape
• Helplessness, devaluation, embarrassment
• Depression, eating disorders, physical pain,
  substance abuse, sexual dysfunction
• More likely to engage in high risk behaviors
  and more likely to attempt suicide
• Rape Trauma Syndrome: the emotional and physical
  effects a woman undergoes following a rape or
  attempted rape
• Emotional reactions
  – Acute emotional reactions are severe
  – Gradual improvement after 2-3 months
  – Increased fear, anxiety, self-esteem problems, and sexual
  – May persist for 18 months or longer
  – Self-blame experienced by some, linked to worse
             Physical Reactions
•   Physical injuries from assault (e.g., cuts, bruises)
•   Damage to throat, rectum in some cases
•   Sexually transmitted diseases
•   Pregnancy (5% of cases)
•   Possible long-term physical effects
    – Worse general health, chronic pelvic pain, menstrual
      disturbances, headache & other pain syndromes,
      intestinal disorders, and sexual disorders
                 Helpful #
• Rape Crisis Services
  – 716-285-3515
  – 716- 834-3131 (24-hr hotline)
• Daemen Counseling Center
  – Deloris Fields 837-7878
  – Dr. Anne Gilles-Thomas 839-8337
  – Nick Gazzoli 716-913-7501
     Prevention and Treatment
• Preventing Rape
  – Strategies fall into 3 categories
     • Avoiding situations with high risk of rape
     • Know some self-defense techniques if a rape is
       actually attempted
     • Changing the culture that contributes to rape
Guidelines for avoiding date rape
 – Set sexual limits
 – Decide early if you want to have sex
 – Don‘t give mixed messages—be clear
 – Be forceful and firm
 – Don‘t do anything you don‘t want to do just to
   avoid a scene/ unpleasantness
 – Be aware that alcohol and other drugs are often
   associated with date rape
 – Trust your gut-level feelings
 – Be careful when you invite your date home or
   are invited to date‘s home
           Prevention: Red flags
• People who do not listen to you, ignore what you
  say, talk over you or pretend not to hear you.
   – Such perpetrators generally have little respect for their
     victims and would be more likely to hear "no" as
     meaning "convince me."
• Ignore your personal space boundaries.
   – Stand or walk too close or touch you without
        Prevention: Red Flags
• Push you to drink beyond your tolerance
  level or wait to make a sexual advance until
  you are extremely intoxicated
• Express anger or aggression frequently
• Try to make you feel guilty, or accuse you
  of being "uptight" if you resist their sexual
                        Red flags
• Act excessively jealous or possessive
• Prevent you from seeing or talking to friends or
  family members
• Keep you isolated and separated from your support
• Have wrong or unrealistic ideas about women (for
  example, "women are meant to serve men").
   – Such perpetrators are not likely to take objections to sex
• Drink heavily
   – A "mean drunk" can often get sexually aggressive, angry,
     or violent if s/he is rejected.
• Whether we are talking about a rapists or a
  thief, criminals like easy targets
  – Make a lot of noise and don‘t place yourself in
    positions of vulnerability
• Direct communication makes you a
  ‗difficult‘ target
  – E.g. letting a date or male friend know your
    attitudes toward sex, violence, space
• Research suggests (Rozee, 1999)
  – Women who fight back and fight back
    immediately are less likely to be raped than
    women who don‘t
  – Women who fight back are no more likely to be
    injured than those who don‘t
  – Pleading, begging, and reasoning are
      Prevention and Treatment
• Treating Victims
   – Women have different responses to rape
   – Cognitive-behavioral methods of treatment
      • Stress inoculation therapy
      • Exposure therapy
• Treating Rapists
   – Recidivism rates
      • 13-19% for treated offenders vs. 27% for untreated offenders
   – Biomedical treatments & behavioral therapies
• An Alternative: Restorative Justice
   – Repairing harm and empowering victims

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