Higher Rates of Unacknowledged Rape Among Men: The Role of Rape Myth Acceptance


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Abstract

Although a few existing studies suggest that men are less likely to acknowledge rape than women, limited research has been dedicated to understanding rape acknowledgment among men. The present study examined rape myths as a potential mechanism that may account for higher rates of unacknowledged rape among male survivors. The participants included 307 rape survivors who completed an online survey of unwanted sexual experiences, rape acknowledgment, and rape myth rejection. Male rape survivors were significantly more likely to be unacknowledged survivors (i.e., to not conceptualize their experience as rape) than female rape survivors. The indirect effect of gender on rape acknowledgment via rape myths was significant, such that men reported lower levels of rape myth rejection, which, in turn, was associated with greater odds of being an unacknowledged rape survivor. These findings have important implications, including that providers should be aware that male survivors may endorse higher levels of rape myth acceptance, which may impact how they conceptualize their victimization experiences.

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