A recent article in the Journal of Community Health Nursing reports on a study conducted at a northeastern university, where students were surveyed on knowledge, social norms regarding sexual behavior, and rape myth acceptance. “The Role of Rape Myth Acceptance in the Social Norms Regarding Sexual Behavior Among College Students” postulates that, “students with lower [sexual health] knowledge and higher acceptance of social norms that accept risky behavior are more likely to hold rape-myth attitudes”. Males were showen to have a higher rape myth acceptance, and researchers believe that this acceptance can be credited to sexual double standards and a rape-supporting culture.
This study encourages preventionists to think about the kind of education we offer on college campuses. While combating rape myths is clearly necessary, we have to start our work a little further upstream to tackle issues around healthy sexuality, sexual health, and social norms. These pieces of education will support our overall goal of reducing rape myth acceptance, moving towards a primary prevention model, and eliminating sexual violence on college campuses.
How do you structure prevention programs on your campus?
To learn more:
“The Role of Rape Myth Acceptance in the Social Norms Regarding Sexual Behavior Among College Students”
Teri Aronowitz, PhD, APRN, FNP-C, Cheryl Ann Lambert, Sara Davidoff
Journal of Community Health Nursing, 29: 173-182, 2012
Abstract: This study examined the antecedents for the acceptance of rape myths. The information motivation behavioral skills model was the basis for this study. In this cross-sectional study at a northeastern university, 237 students consented to participate in an online survey examining knowledge, social norms regarding sexual behavior, future time perspective, and rape myth acceptance (RMA). The majority of the sample was female. Forty-one percent believed that a woman who was raped while drunk was responsible. Men had higher RMA and the less sexual knowledge they had, the more they accepted the rape myths. Direction is provided regarding primary prevention of sexual assault.