The Myths and Stereotypes that Surround Rape

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Rape is a social problem that still remains, rape myths are defined as beliefs that are falsely made about rape in general, rapists, and those raped; rape myths are also defined as prejudicial and stereotyped, and cultural attitudes and gender roles contribute to the acceptance of rape myths. The gender differences the scientists identified between men’s and women’s views of rape/rape myths are ‘women ask to be raped’ and men are either or both sex-starved or insane. It is justifiable and considered not to be rape if a man rapes a woman and does not leave bruises on her body (a woman cannot say she was raped because there is no physical damage like having no bruises). Victim Masochism is defined as when a woman is enjoying and desiring sex, Victim precipitation is defined as rape happening to a certain group or type of women, and victim fabrication is when women claim they got raped are considered liars for speaking out about it and also exaggerating the rape, these expressed themes that blame the victim (victim blame) for the rape even though the rapist is to blame. Whether the rape victim’s date was a steady one or a dangerous aggressive one, that does not justify a difference in the degree of physical damage to the victim who was sexually abused, rape is psychologically harmful to the victim no matter who the person is. Men can be aggressive with women sexually and can deny it even if they have raped women and that is considered reasonable to some.

While a woman, based on rap myths should not be sleeping around (being free like she should be) or hanging around to not be a victim of rape, that is unfair compared to what a man can do. The most alarming myths college students tend to hold regarding rape are that men hold women more accountable for rape and view rape as less distressing/terrible and dangerous than women do. It is believed that women tend to more likely believe than men rape because they have the power to, power is a factor of rape and the main reason( sexual motivation) for rape to occur. While on the other hand, men believe and are more likely to believe that rape occurs because of men desiring/ wanting sex, sexual urges are the real motivational reason for men to rape women. those who blame the rape victim interpret that when women violate there traditional roles of being a women and are not doing what is considered normal to society (gender norms/gender role stereotypes) like getting home before it gets too dark outside and not going out all the time (or even anywhere at all), women would be safer and would not get raped, therefore, that justifies why rapists are blamed less. Fraternity men have the tendency to put up pictures on their walls of women that degrades them(the women) than non-fraternity men, this observation is related to the rape myths believed by men. Male athletes at colleges and universities accept rape myths much more than female athletes do.

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For both male and female intercollegiate athletes, mostly male athletes believe that women were lying about getting raped (50% of women; half the women who got raped-were considered liars and not victims of rape). Younger male athletes in their freshman or sophomore year of college accept rape myths more than male juniors and seniors who participated and played golf and other individually- focused sports accepted rape myths less than those who played team-based sports. The legal definition of rape is limited/restricted to a certain degree, that is more tolerant and excusing for rapists, which does not help the victim get the justice they deserve. Rape should not define itself the way the legal system defines it, by allowing rapists to get away with what they have done and allow rape myths to put the responsibility upon the victims who had gotten raped. Rape myths support the act of rape on anyone especially women and it continues on and on. Social change needs to occur, and people need not have the mindset that the way you dress determines whether you get raped or not. The scientists did not offer any causal variables or explanations because although they gave numbers and percentage and data evidence collected the scientists did not give a complete explanation of why the data and variables resulted in the way they did. For example the scientists presented the date that 24% of police officers, 11% of lawyers, 6% of doctors, and 3% of rape counselors though women were not damaged by rape if they were sexually experienced before they were raped, there is not really a cause and effect, just data and a statement about the data, this data does not explain past or future data or even any type change for that matter. Another example is, the percentage of women in college who experienced attempted rape or were actually raped is 7%, there is no explanation given or a further explanation as to why this happens and why to that amount of people.

The scientists offered recommendations to counter or correct the acceptance of myths in such ways as having Rape prevention programs at colleges and universities because of how high the rate of sexual assault is at colleges and universities. The goal of Rape prevention programs is to provide lots of information, change the behaviors and myths on rape in young people, influence attitudes, and combine all these ideas together. Rape prevention programs are made to help college students find ways to interact with one another( communication and behavior patterns). Men learn visually and less verbally. Educating men and women separately is said to be the most effective way in changing attitudes and having small groups of people talk to each other is helpful and progressive than lectures being the main source of educating students about rape an sexual assault. There are more research and evaluations still being done about the correlation between rape myths and college students, which is important because the number of college students that get raped is startling and there are still colleges and universities that are not as aware of how to deal with rapists and rape victims and they lack programs that can decrease rape and the myths that come along with it.  Not every victim can speak up about being raped and these victims believe they are held accountable and are the ones to blame, but through the use of programs and sharing their stories with others who experienced similar stories of rape, might just make life a little better and easier for rape victims to handle one step at a time.

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