Gender, Myths, and Assumptions: Correlates of Risk Perception in Sexual Assault Scenarios

Melanie D. Hetzel-Riggin, Shauntey James, Ryan Roby, Theresa J. Buczek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Sexual violence continues to plague college campuses even with the implementation of bystander intervention programs. Previous research has demonstrated that diminished situational risk recognition increases the risk for sexual assault victimization. However, there is a paucity of research comparing men’s and women’s risk perception in sexual assault scenarios, risk perception from a victim or perpetrator perspective, or the role of previous sexual violence history, rape myth acceptance, and world assumptions on sexual risk perception. The current study examined male and female college students’ risk perception while reading a sexual assault scenario. Participants also completed measures of victim and perpetrator blame, rape myth acceptance, and beliefs in a just world. The results suggested that men’s and women’s risk perception is influenced by different rape myths and world assumptions. Specifically, women’s risk perception and victim blame are associated with sexual communication myths and beliefs in the randomness of the world, while men’s risk perception and victim blame are related to the acceptance of myths that women ask for sexual assault and that the world is a just, cruel place. The results call for the incorporation of additional training on how rape myths and world assumptions may impact risk recognition and intervention in sexual assault education. It will also be important to target different barriers to intervention for men and women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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