Title of Abstract

Rape Myth Acceptance and Gender Characteristics

Submitting Student(s)

Joslynn Luto
Alyssa Dodds

Session Title

Additional Projects

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

Abstract

We examined this issue of gender identity, hypothesizing that those who identified as more masculine would be more accepting of rape myths than those who identified as feminine. We also hypothesized that these gender identities would be more predictive than gender categories (man/woman). Participants were adults with a mean age of 24. 81 (SD = 10.34). The majority were men (52%) and Caucasian (73%). Participants completed the Bem Sex Role Inventory. They then read a scenario describing a sexual assault of a man on a woman and provided their opinions of the situation and responded to the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. In support of our hypothesis, we found a pattern where men and masculine adults were more accepting of rape myths and judged an attacked woman more harshly. Women and feminine adults demonstrated the opposite pattern. Despite this pattern, we saw some differences between men and masculine adults. Both of these groups had higher agreement with rape myths and saw the woman in our scenario as weak. However, masculine men had the most negative attitudes toward the woman in our scenario, while men offered more excuses for the accused man in our scenario. In contrast, we saw similarities between women and feminine individuals. Both groups rejected rape myths, perceived a negative impact for the woman in our scenario, and had little sympathy for the male accuser. These findings suggest that both gender and gender identity play a role in adults’ perceptions of rape myths and sexual assault.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

Rape Myth Acceptance and Gender Characteristics

We examined this issue of gender identity, hypothesizing that those who identified as more masculine would be more accepting of rape myths than those who identified as feminine. We also hypothesized that these gender identities would be more predictive than gender categories (man/woman). Participants were adults with a mean age of 24. 81 (SD = 10.34). The majority were men (52%) and Caucasian (73%). Participants completed the Bem Sex Role Inventory. They then read a scenario describing a sexual assault of a man on a woman and provided their opinions of the situation and responded to the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. In support of our hypothesis, we found a pattern where men and masculine adults were more accepting of rape myths and judged an attacked woman more harshly. Women and feminine adults demonstrated the opposite pattern. Despite this pattern, we saw some differences between men and masculine adults. Both of these groups had higher agreement with rape myths and saw the woman in our scenario as weak. However, masculine men had the most negative attitudes toward the woman in our scenario, while men offered more excuses for the accused man in our scenario. In contrast, we saw similarities between women and feminine individuals. Both groups rejected rape myths, perceived a negative impact for the woman in our scenario, and had little sympathy for the male accuser. These findings suggest that both gender and gender identity play a role in adults’ perceptions of rape myths and sexual assault.