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Only Psychos Think Rape is OK...Right?

Societal Attitudes Supporting Rape

- A survey of 6,159 college students enrolled at 32 institutions in the U.S. found the following: (ref 4)

· 54% of the women surveyed had been the victims of some form of sexual abuse; more than one in four college-aged women had been the victim of rape or attempted rape;

· 57% of the assaults occurred on dates;

· 73% of the assailants and 55% of the victims had used alcohol or other drugs prior to the assault;

· 25% of the men surveyed admitted some degree of sexually aggressive behavior;

· 42% of the victims told no one.

- In a survey of high school students, 56% of the girls and 76% of the boys believed forced sex was acceptable under some circumstances. (ref 5)

- A survey of 11-to-14 year-olds found:(ref 5)

· 51% of the boys and 41% of the girls said forced sex was acceptable if the boy, "spent a lot of money" on the girl;

· 31% of the boys and 32% of the girls said it was acceptable for a man to rape a woman with past sexual experience;

· 87% of boys and 79% of girls said sexual assault was acceptable if the man and the woman were married;

· 65% of the boys and 47% of the girls said it was acceptable for a boy to rape a girl if they had been dating for more than six months.

- In a survey of male college students:

· 35% anonymously admitted that, under certain circumstances, they would commit rape if they believed they could get away with it (ref 6,7).

· One in 12 admitted to committing acts that met the legal definitions of rape, and 84% of men who committed rape did not label it as rape.(ref 6,7)

- In another survey of college males: (ref 8)

· 43% of college-aged men admitted to using coercive behavior to have sex, including ignoring a woman's protest, using physical aggression, and forcing intercourse.

· 15% acknowledged they had committed acquaintance rape; 11% acknowledged using physical restraints to force a woman to have sex.

- Women with a history of rape or attempted rape during adolescence were almost twice as likely to experience a sexual assault during college, and were three times as likely to be victimized by a husband. (ref 9)

- Sexual assault is reported by 33% to 46% of women who are being physically assaulted by their husbands.(ref 10)


If you or someone you know has been hurt:

Campus Advocacy Network

Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Abuse

After an Assault



1. Dupre, A.R., Hampton, H.L., Morrison, H., and Meeks, G.R. Sexual Assault. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey. 1993;48:640-648.

2. National Crime Center and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. Arlington, VA; 1992:1-16

3. National Victim Center, and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center. Rape in America: A Report to the Nation. Arlington, VA; 1992:1-16.

4. Koss M.P., Hidden rape: sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of students in higher education. In: Burgess A.W., ed Rape and Sexual Assault. New York, NY: Garland Publishing: 1988;2:3-25.

5. White, Jacqueline W. and John A. Humphrey. "Young People's Attitudes Toward Acquaintance Rape." Acquaintance Rape: The Hidden crime." John Wiley and Sons, 1991.

6. Koss M.P., Dinero, T.E., Seibel, C.A. Stranger and acquaintance rape: Are there differences in the victim's experience? Psychology of Women Quarterly. 1988:12:1-24.

7. Malamuth N.M. Rape proclivity among males. J Soc Issues. 1981;37:138-157.

8. Rapaport, Karen R. and C. Dale Posey. Sexually Coercive College Males. Acquaintance Rape: The Hidden Crime, edited by Andrea Parrot. John Wiley and Sons, 1991.

9. Ellis, Atkeson, Calhoun, 1982: Gidycz, Coble, Latham, Layman, (1993); Guthrie, Notgrass, 1992.

10. Frieze IH, Browne A. Violence in marriage. In: Ohlin, L, Tonry, M, eds. Family Violence: Crime and Justice, A Review of Research. Chicago, Ill: University of Chicago Press; 1989:163-218.

11. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Adolescence. Sexual assault and the adolescent. Pediatrics. 1994;94(5):761-765.

12. Heise, L.L. Reproductive freedom and violence against women: where are the intersections? J Law Med Ethics. 1993;21(2):206-216.


This project was supported by Grant No. 2002-WA-BX-0011 awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women and the U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.