Sex Roles [sers] pp346-sers-365023 December 8, 2001 8:37 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sex Roles, Vol. 45, Nos. 3/4, August 2001 (
Beyond Rape Myths: A More Complex View
of Perceptions of Rape Victims
Amy M. Buddie
and Arthur G. Miller
This research examined personal beliefs and perceptions of cultural stereo-
types surrounding rape victims. Students (ages 18–21) at a primarily Caucasian
University listed either their personal beliefs or their perceptions of cultural
stereotypes surrounding rape victims and rated a speciﬁc rape victim either
according to their personal beliefs or their perceptions of cultural stereotypes.
Personal beliefs about rape victims tended to focus more on perceptions of
victim reactions to the rape (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.) rather than on rape
myths (e.g., she asked for it, was promiscuous, etc.). Perceptions of cultural
stereotypes, however, comprised rape myths rather than the victim’s reactions
to rape. We propose that perceptions of rape victims are more multifaceted
than has previously been suggested.
Somewhere in America, a woman is raped approximately every 2 min.
However, less than one third of these rapes and sexual assaults are reported
to law enforcement ofﬁcials (U.S. Department of Justice, 1997). In addition,
many women who are raped do not identify themselves as rape victims
(Kahn, Mathie, & Torgler, 1994; Koss, 1985). One reason that women do
not report rape and do not acknowledge being raped might be based in
societal stereotypes surrounding sexual violence. Stereotypes about rape
victims include the notions that she “asked” to be raped, secretly enjoyed
Portions of this research were presented at the 2000 meeting of the Society for Personality and
Social Psychology in Nashville, Tennessee.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at The Research Institute on Addictions, 1021
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2002 Plenum Publishing Corporation