Tara Pursley conducted the research included within "Rape-Beliefs and Social Reactions" for partial fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master Science in Clinical Psychology.
Under the direction of Dr. Marie Karlsson, Tara Pursley conducted a study similar to past ones that have looked into the "Rape Vignettes" and how people respond based on their own perception of what constitutes as sexual assault. This study aimed to discover how the various definitions of rape have affected how a person, whether a victim or not, perceives an experience or disclosure of rape.
Many agree that sexual violence is a pervasive problem, but there is less agreement regarding how to classify and define various experiences of rape. Research has demonstrated that the beliefs one holds about rape are the strongest indicator for how both victims and non-victims of sexual assault perceive and classify unwanted sexual experiences. What is less understood is the way that this perception influences how non-victims respond to a victim’s disclosure of sexual assault. The current study sought to fill this gap. Participants included 119 female college students (Mage = 19.23, SD = 1.98; 81% White). Results revealed that endorsing distorted beliefs about rape was a significant predictor for how one labeled one of the vignettes (i.e. “seduction rape” vignette), such that having more distorted beliefs about rape led to labeling the experience as something other than rape (i.e. a miscommunication or a mistake). Results also revealed that this perception subsequently affected responses for one of the vignettes (i.e. “seduction rape” vignette), such that those who labeled it as something other than rape were more likely to respond more negatively and less positively to the victim. These results suggest that endorsing distorted beliefs about rape can affect the perception of experience and that this perception can affect responses to a disclosure. Implications and future directions are discussed.
"Raped-Related Beliefs and Social Reactions,"
Steeplechase: An ORCA Student Journal: Vol. 3
, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.murraystate.edu/steeplechase/vol3/iss1/6
Ahrens, C. E. (2006). Being silenced: The impact of negative social reactions on the disclosure
of rape. American Journal of Community Psychology, (38), 263-274. doi:
Ahrens, C. E., Campbell, R., Ternier-Thames, K. K., Wasco, S. M., & Sefl, T. (2007). Deciding
whom to tell: Expectations and outcomes of rape survivors’ first disclosures. Psychology
of Women Quarterly, 31, 38-49.
Ahrens, C. E., Stansell, J., Jennings, A. (2010). To tell or not to tell: The impact of disclosure on
sexual assault survivors’ recovery. Violence and Victims, 25(5), 631-648. doi:
Black, M. C., Basile, K. C., Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Walters, M. L., Merrick, M. T., Chen,
J., & Stevens, M. R (2011). National intimate partner and sexual violence survey.
Bondurant, B. (2001). University women’s acknowledgement of rape: Individual,
situational, and social factors. Violence Against Women, 7(3), 294.
Burt, M. (1980). Cultural myths and support for rape. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 38(2), 217-230.
Campbell, R., Ahrens, C. E., Sefl, T., Wasco, S. M., & Barnes, H. E. (2001). Social reactions to
rape victims: Healing and hurtful effects of psychological and physical health outcomes.
Violence and Victims, 16(3).
Carroll, M. H., & Clark, M. D. (2006). Men’s acquaintance rape scripts: A comparison between
a regional university and a military academy. Sex Roles, 55, 469-480.
Cowan, G. (2000). Beliefs About the Causes of Four Types of Rape. Sex Roles, 42, 807-823.
Crowne, D. P., & Marlowe, D. (1960). A new scale of social desirability independent of
psychopathology. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 42(4), 349-354.
Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A.-G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39, 175-191. Retrieved from http://www.psycho.uni-duesseldorf.de/abteilungen/aap/gpower3/
Fisher, B. S., Daigle, L.E., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2003). Acknowledged sexual
victimization as rape: Results from a national-level study. Justice Quarterly, 20, 535-570.
Fisher, B. S., Daigle, L.E., Cullen, F.T., & Turner, M.G. (2003). Reporting sexual victimization
to the police and others: Results from a national-level study of college women. Criminal
Justice and Behavior, 30(1), 6-38. doi: 10. 1177/0093854802239161
Foa, E. B. (1995). Posttraumatic stress diagnostic scale manual. Minneapolis, MN: National
Galotti, K. M. (2018). Cognitive psychology in and out of the laboratory. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage Publications Inc.
Grubb, A. R., & Harrower, J. (2009). Understanding attribution of blame in cases of rape: an
analysis of participant gender, type of rape and perceived similarity to the victim. Journal
of Sexual Aggression, 15(1), 63-81. doi: 10.1080/13552600802641649
Johnson, B. E., Kuck, D. L., & Schander, P. R. (1997). Rape myth acceptance and
sociodemographic characteristics: A multidimensional analysis. Sex Roles. 36(11-12),
693-707. Doi: 10.1023/A:1025671021697
Kahn, A. S., & Mathie, V, A. (1994). Rape scripts and rape acknowledgement. Psychology
Of Women Quarterly, 18, 53-66.
Littleton, H. L., Rhatigan, D. L., & Axsom, D. (2007). Unacknowledged rape: How much do
We know about the hidden rape victim? Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, &
McMahon, S., & Farmer, L. (2011). An updated measure for assessing subtle rape myths. Social
Work Research, 35(2), 71-81. doi: 10.1093/swr/35.2.71
McMahon, S. (2011). Rape myth beliefs and bystander attitudes among incoming college
students. Journal of American College Health, 59.
McMahon, S. & Baker, K. (2011). Changing perceptions of sexual violence over time. National
Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Payne, D. L., Lonsway, K. A., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1999). Rape myth acceptance: Exploration of
its structure and its measurement using the Illinois rape myth acceptance scale. Journal of
Research in Personality, 33, 27-68.
Paul, L. A., Walsh, K., McCauley, J. L., Ruggiero, K. J., Resnick, H. S., & Kilpatrick, D. G.
(2013). College women’s experiences with rape disclosure: A national study. Violence
Against Women, 19(4), 486-502. doi: 10.1177/107780121348774
Peterson, Z. D., & Muehlenhard, C. L. (2004). Was it rape? The function of women’s rape
myth acceptance and definitions of sex in labeling their own experiences. Sex Roles,
Reynolds, W. M. (1982). Development of reliable and valid short forms of the Marlowe-Crowne
Social Desirability Scale. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38, 119-125. doi:10.1002/1097
Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
Ryan, K. M. (1988). Rape and seduction scripts. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 12(2), 237
-245. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1988.tb00939.x
Ryan, K. M. (2011). The relationship between rape myths and sexual scripts: The social
construction of rape. Sex Roles, 59. doi: 10.1007/s11199-011-0033-2
Sarmiento, I. (2011). Rape stereotypes and labeling: Awareness of victimization and trauma.
Psychological Reports, 108(1), 141-148. doi: 10.2466/07.13.16.PRO.108.1.141-148
Sasson, S., & Paul, L. A. (2014). Labeling acts of sexual violence: What roles do assault
characteristics, attitudes, and life experiences play? Behavior and Social Issues, 23, 35
49. doi: 10.5210/bsi.v.23i0.5215
Sinozich, S., & Langton, L. (2014). Special Report: Rape and sexual assault victimization among
-age females, 1995-2013. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics: Fifth edition. Boston,
MA: Pearson Education and Corporation.
Ullman, S. E. (2000). Psychometric characteristics of the social reactions questionnaire: A
measure of reactions to sexual assault victims. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 257
Ullman, S. & Relyea, M. (2015). Unsupported or turned against: Understanding how two types
of negative social reactions to sexual assault relate to post-assault outcomes. Psychology
of Women Quarterly, 39(1), 37-52.
Vladutiu, C. J., Martin, S. L., & Macy, R. J. (2011). College- or university-based sexual assault
prevention programs: a review of program outcomes, characteristics, and
recommendations. Trauma, Violence, and Abuse, 12, 67-86. DOI: 10.1177/1524838010390708.