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Exploring rape culture in social media forums

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... This centuries-old myth represents themes of a rape culture, which is continuously perpetuated to this day. The term 'rape culture' was first conceptualised in 1975 by Susan Brownmiller in her book, Against our will, to describe a culture or pervasive ideology, in which sexual violence is the norm and victims are consequently blamed for their assaults [4,21,26,40]. Drawing from social construction theory, researchers have determined that rape is perpetuated through the construction of rape culture [39]. That is, societal attitudes or behaviours towards gender and sexuality that normalise sexual violence, are constructed and reproduced in society through modelling and social learning [4,21,39,40]. ...
... Drawing from social construction theory, researchers have determined that rape is perpetuated through the construction of rape culture [39]. That is, societal attitudes or behaviours towards gender and sexuality that normalise sexual violence, are constructed and reproduced in society through modelling and social learning [4,21,39,40]. Rape culture promotes rape by socialising boys and men to be sexual aggressors, and girls and woman to be sexually passive [26]. Consequently, society has accepted that relationships involving male sexual aggression are natural and normal [40]. ...
... Rape culture promotes rape by socialising boys and men to be sexual aggressors, and girls and woman to be sexually passive [26]. Consequently, society has accepted that relationships involving male sexual aggression are natural and normal [40]. ...
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Sexual assault on campuses has been identified as a pervasive public health problem. In April 2016, students across South African universities launched the #Endrapeculture campaign to express their frustration against university policies which served to perpetuate a rape culture. The use of hashtag activism during the protest served to spark online public debates and mobilize support for the protests. This article describes the public reactions to the South African #Endrapeculture protests on the Facebook social media platform. Data was collected through natural observations of comment threads on news articles and public posts on the student protests, and subjected to content analysis. The findings suggest that the #nakedprotest was successful in initiating public conversations concerning the issue of rape culture. However, the reactions towards the #nakedprotest were divided with some perpetuating a mainstream public discourse which perpetuates rape culture, and others (re)presenting a counter-public that challenged current dominant views about rape culture. Two related main themes emerged: Victim-blaming and Trivialising Rape Culture. Victim-blaming narratives emerged from the commenters and suggested that the protesters were increasing their chances of being sexually assaulted by marching topless. This discourse seems to perpetuate the notion of the aggressive male sexual desire and places the onus on women to protect themselves. Other commenters criticised the #nakedprotest method through demeaning comments which served to derail the conversation and trivialise the message behind the protest. The public reaction to the #nakedprotest demonstrated that rape culture is pervasive in society and continues to be re(produced) through discourse on social media platforms. However, social media also offers individuals the opportunity to draw from and participate in multiple counter-publics which challenge these mainstream rape culture discourses.
... In a context such as Mexico, where the culture, through gender stereotypes (Scott, 2008;Tarrés, 2013), promotes discourses that objectify the image of women, analyzing the social thinking framed within rape culture in social networks becomes of utmost importance (Treviño, 2019). In modern societies, the influence of digital media on the opinions and discourses constructed by individuals is undeniable (Zaleski et al., 2016). For this reason, analyzing the social representations of violence against women in the digital sphere will allow us to identify the ideas, beliefs, and ideologies that groups have about the image of women within the framework of the culture of violence and from the perspective of Mexican society (Zaleski et al., 2016;Idoiaga et al., 2019;Valencia et al., 2013). ...
... In modern societies, the influence of digital media on the opinions and discourses constructed by individuals is undeniable (Zaleski et al., 2016). For this reason, analyzing the social representations of violence against women in the digital sphere will allow us to identify the ideas, beliefs, and ideologies that groups have about the image of women within the framework of the culture of violence and from the perspective of Mexican society (Zaleski et al., 2016;Idoiaga et al., 2019;Valencia et al., 2013). ...
... All these factors impact decisions made by both victims and criminal justice actors handling sexual assault cases (Sacks et al., 2018) and usually serve to generate disbelief towards the victims along with a low rapist conviction rate (Phipps et al., 2018). Concerning victim-blaming in the digital sphere, it has also been found that social media can be understood as a growing space for engagement, discussion, and conflict between those who support victims and those who engage in victim-blaming and the promotion of rape culture (Stubbs-Richardson et al., 2018;Zaleski et al., 2016). ...
Article
The digital sphere has become a space in which misogyny-laden discourses are constantly presented. In fact, in Mexico persists a rape culture that justifies violent acts against women and blames the victims of the crimes through social opinions. The present study proposed an approach based on the Theory of Social Representations. In this sense, this study aimed to analyze the discourses that emerge in the digital sphere when users give their opinion on five types of crimes against women: femicide, rape, enforced disappearance, abuse, and sexual harassment. The results revealed that there are four types of discourse (representations) framed within rape culture: disbelief of rape, blaming the victim, revictimization, and disempowering women. It is concluded that Mexican society maintains a representation that stereotypes and devalues the image of women, which allows us to understand the aggressions that women suffer in their daily lives.
... This study analyzed 3.50 million users' reactions collected from 9,429 rape news shared on the Facebook pages of ten Bangladeshi news media. The relevant previous studies mainly investigated Facebook reactions, rape news, reactions to rape news, rape news in social media, and the role of social media in a rape culture (Badache & Boughanem, 2017;Brunell et al., 2019;Check & Malamuth, 1983;Eberl et al., 2020;Freeman et al., 2019;Giuntini et al., 2019;Han, 2021;Ikizer et al., 2019;Jost et al., 2020;Kilgo & Midberry, 2022;Molina et al., 2020;Navarro & Coromina, 2020;Orth et al., 2021;Smoliarova et al., 2018;Tian et al., 2017;Tran et al., 2018;Turnbull & Jenkins, 2016;Varanasi et al., 2018;Woodruff et al., 2020;Zaleski et al., 2016). However, no particular study focused on the social media users' reaction to rape and rape news. ...
... On the other hand, trivializing rape culture suggests that "rape culture is pervasive in society and continues to be re(produced) through discourse on social media platforms" (Orth et al., 2021, p. 243). More studies explored how victim-blaming has been a common reaction of social media users (Wellman et al., 2017;Zaleski et al., 2016). Like the study of Orth et al. (2021), Zaleski et al. (2016) also analyzed users' comments posted on rape news shared on social media and forums. ...
... More studies explored how victim-blaming has been a common reaction of social media users (Wellman et al., 2017;Zaleski et al., 2016). Like the study of Orth et al. (2021), Zaleski et al. (2016) also analyzed users' comments posted on rape news shared on social media and forums. They found users' four dominant reactions: victim blaming and questioning; survivor support; perpetrator support; trolling statements about law and Users' Reactions to Rape News Shared on Social Media: An Analysis of Five Facebook Reaction Buttons Asian Journal for Public Opinion Research society. ...
Article
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This study investigated 3.50 million Facebook reactions collected from 9,429 Bangladeshi news items about rape shared on social media from 2016 to 2021. The primary aim of this study was to understand users’ different reaction patterns based on the five major Facebook reactions (i.e., love, haha, wow, sad, and angry). Based on the theories of emotion, we quantitatively answer one research question: How do social media users react to rape with the five major Facebook reactions? The results suggest that users are more likely to express disdain toward rape and sympathy toward the victims using the angry button, along with the sad button. In rape news, both reactions are consistent and maintain a strong positive correlation, meaning they increase and decrease together. Although many users tend to mock and laugh at rape incidents and the victims, trend lines suggest that such expressions may not be consistent with time. Despite contextual relevance, we presume that in socially and morally unacceptable events like rape and war, the valences of reactions alter to some extent: angry and sad usually become positive, while love, wow, and haha become negative. Some strengths and limitations of the study are discussed as well.
... Recently, rape culture has become more frequently addressed in popular culture and the greater social discourse beyond feminist circles. Due to the increasing use of the Internet globally, society is exposed to rape culture more than in the past, with instant access to global coverage and discussions on television, radio, news, and social media, in blogs, and within popular culture (Kristen L. Zaleski, Kristin K. Gundersen, Jessica Baes, Ely Estupinian, and Alyssa Vergara 2016). ...
... They found that sexual perpetrators announce themselves online and 29 percent of the coded comments on the Reddit thread showed that sexual assault perpetrators blame the victim as the reason why the perpetrator engaged in sexually assaultive acts. Similarly, Zaleski et al. (2016) collected articles on sexual assault by major news publications posted online to determine if rape culture was present within the comments section. The researchers found that victim blaming occurred in 25.8 percent of the coded comment. ...
... This study found 10% of respondents (2 respondents in this study) either reported negative or neutral feelings about disclosing online. Negative experiences of those who publicly support sexual assault survivors has been found in recent studies by M. Stubbs-Richardson, N. E. Rader, and A. G. Cosby (2018), K. W. Bogen, K. Bleiweiss, and L. M. Orchowski (2018) and Zaleski et al. (2016); namely the prominence of victim blame and bullying that can result when advocacy and support of survivorship exists online. Stubbs-Richardson, Rader, and Cosby (2018) noted that their study showed that those who criticize survivors advocates often have more followers online, thus provoking a feeling of the statement having a larger audience. ...
Article
Silence and shame often surround incidents of sexual violence. As technology and social media spawn movements for survivors to speak about their experiences, it is unknown if public online disclosures are aiding or hindering sexual assault recovery. This study explored the experiences of survivors of sexual violence who utilized social media to publicly disclose surviving sexual assault (n = 20). Qualitative interviews explored survivors’ motivations and overall experiences of self-disclosing their sexual assault via social media. A thematic, open-coded analysis was conducted using NVivo qualitative data analysis software. Four major themes emerged from the data: “I didn’t want to be silenced anymore,” “I named myself a resource,” “The fence begins to have holes in it once you disclose,” and “Disclosing myself was a form of renewal.” The findings elucidate how the majority of participants experienced a positive benefit from disclosing publicly, with two notable exceptions of negative experiences. The findings support further research into this phenomenon to discern whether disclosing one’s story of sexual assault via social media can be seen as an avenue for positive coping and facilitate further resolution after a sexual trauma, specifically regarding a sense of empowerment and a sense of contributing to a larger online narrative of survivors.
... Highprofile stories often go "viral" (e.g., are shared widely) on SM platforms, exposing users to words, images, and narratives about sexual assault as they navigate these online spaces. As is the nature of SM, these posts about sexual violence are often accompanied by public discourse as well, which can range from showing empathy and support for victims, to questioning victims' credibility and defending perpetrators (PettyJohn et al., 2019;Zaleski et al., 2016). ...
... Even prior to the #MeToo Movement in 2017, SM saw trends of public discourse surrounding sexual assault stories going viral on their platforms (Ash et al., 2017;Kosloski et al., 2018;Stubbs-Richardson et al., 2018). For survivors, SM can be a source of support by providing a sense of belonging, access to helping resources, or empowerment through hashtag activism (Elmquist & McLaughlin, 2018;Kosloski et al., 2018;Zaleski et al., 2016). These platforms may also be a source of distress due to unsupportive messages, such as endorsement of rape culture attitudes, emerging from public dialogue. ...
... This yielded 4239 comments from 52 articles which were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The largest group of comments (26%) were categorized as victim blaming and questioning, with behaviors including: telling rape survivors what to do; claiming a survivor's story is too unbelievable to be real; implying survivors had a hidden agenda; stating the passage of time made the survivor's story unbelievable; claiming accusations were false; and blaming victims for their use of alcohol and drugs (Zaleski et al., 2016). Comments showing explicit support for perpetrators were less common (constituting 6% of the comments analyzed) but were present on all but one of the articles reviewed. ...
Article
Since the inception of the viral #MeToo Movement in 2017, news coverage of sexual assault incidents and related public discourse have become much more prevalent on social media platforms. While this hashtag activism has prompted important social discourse, little is known about how exposure to this type of trauma-related content affects survivors of sexual violence navigating these online spaces. To explore this phenomenon, we conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with young adult women survivors of sexual assault who regularly use social media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter). Participants were asked to reflect on sexual assault–related content (i.e., news stories and related public discourse) which they have observed on social media platforms. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data found survivors described (1) negative changes to their mental health and relationships in the face of these exposures, (2) certain types of content (e.g., rape culture narratives) which were particularly distressing to them, (3) how they coped with distress tied to this exposure, and (4) recommendations for clinicians on how to help survivors navigate social media in a healthier way. The present study is a first step toward understanding the impact of online social movements on trauma survivors and provides concrete clinical recommendations for therapists working with sexual assault survivors in this unique post-#MeToo context.
... The growth in social media usage has in many ways positively influenced the way people, communities, and organizations communicate and interact (Baym & Boyd, 2012;Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010;Ngai et al., 2015). In our contemporary society, digital media consumption has become one of the standard platforms for accessing news and viewpoints on social, political, and cultural issues (Zaleski et al., 2016). Through social media, individuals can provide information and events not covered in the news (i.e., cell phone footage of protest events), can share their opinions, and can engage with others concerning events reported in mainstream media (Stubbs-Richardson et al., 2018). ...
... In addition, virtual communications are used as sources of data to understand the dynamics and role of social media in society (Lijadi & van Schalkwyk, 2015;Snelson, 2016). Feminist researchers and other social scientists, for example, have explored how women, people of color and LGBT + communities have used social media to speak out against injustices and establish spaces to shape their identities (Rentschler, 2014;Zaleski et al., 2016). Other studies have explored how youth in the Global South use social media technologies to mobilize citizens for social change (Hart & Mitchell, 2015;Mare, 2017). ...
... The interest in using social media in academic research is increasing as evidenced by the growing number books aimed at defining social media research and the increasing literature reviews depicting the use of social media in qualitative and mixed-method research (Armstrong & Mahone, 2017;Giraldi & Monk-Turner, 2017;Markham, 2013;Ngai et al., 2015;Rentschler, 2014;Snelson, 2016;Stubbs-Richardson et al., 2018;Zaleski et al., 2016). Studies using social media platforms for data collection illustrate its numerous advantages: simplified and accelerated data collection, reduced costs, and streamlined participant recruitment (King et al., 2014;Lijadi & van Schalkwyk, 2015). ...
Article
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Social media is becoming a valuable resource for hosting activism as illustrated in the rise of the hashtag movements, such as #MeToo and #Endrapeculture, used to speak out against rape culture. In this article, we discuss the use of social media as the source and object of research, using the case of the 2016 South African #nakedprotest. We used naturalistic observation on Facebook comment threads and followed these up with online Facebook focus groups. Qualitative content analysis and thematic decomposition analysis were used, respectively, to explore online discourses of rape culture. We found that the use of social media as a medium for data collection is valuable for exploring trending social issues such as the rape culture #nakedprotest. We uncovered that social media offers researchers the opportunity to collect, analyze, and triangulate rich qualitative data for the exploration of social phenomena. This study illustrates the usefulness of social media as a pedagogical instrument.
... 5 Online rape culture is revealed, in part, in online discussions of sexual assault in which users react with incivility-blaming victims and defending accused rapists. 6,7 Manifestations of rape culture as uncivil reactions to discourse around sexual assault raise questions about what features of news media elicit this behavior. ...
... For example, a recent content analysis of comments responding to news reports of sexual assault found that hostile attributions of blame (i.e., victimblaming comments) generated hostile replies. 7 In this work, we examined characteristics of news media that influenced discourse incivility. ...
... 47,48 When anonymous, users may post hostile responses to news reports of sexual assault (e.g., the shaming and blaming of victims). 7 Research has shown that removing anonymity from an online forum can decrease discourse incivility. 49 Yet while anonymity may facilitate incivility in certain situations, identifiability may perpetuate incivility in others. ...
Article
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Reports of sexual assault have been found to elicit online discourse incivility. The present study employs a computerized coding tool to examine linguistic characteristics of news media that are likely to influence discourse incivility-specifically, negative emotion, disagreement, and discussion about power relations. Additionally, machine learning was harnessed to measure the levels of comment toxicity, insult, profanity, threat, and identity attack in Reddit and Twitter posts sharing news reports of sexual assault. Findings reveal that linguistic features of news articles interact with platform community norms to predict rape culture as expressed within online responses to reports of sexual assault.
... Unsurprisingly, sites like Twitter or the comment sections of online newspaper articles can serve as stages where people can publicly discuss, endorse, and disseminate rape myths (Ash et al. 2017;Savoia 2016;Zaleski et al. 2016). Comments that are supportive of rape myths are particularly 1 problematic as victim blaming has severe consequences for a victim's mental health (Campbell et al. 2009;Franiuk et al. 2008;Ullman and Peter-Hagene 2014). ...
... Still, there are also undeniable benefits to social media as it relates to cases of sexual assault. Social media allows women to share their personal narratives publicly to challenge dominant rape culture narratives and claim a place as voices of authority on the issue of sexual assault (Rentschler 2014;Salter 2013;Williams 2015;Zaleski et al. 2016). Social media can serve as a platform to document cases and expose rapists, even or especially when an institution like a university or institution such as the criminal justice system has failed them (Boux and Daum 2015;Rentshcler 2014;Salter 2013). ...
Article
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The power of social media may be best captured in high-profile criminal cases where the court of public opinion can comment, often anonymously, and instantly re-share case information. In a poignant example of how social media can generate national and international attention on criminal behavior, this research explores the 2012 Steubenville, Ohio sexual assault case. Using qualitative textual analysis, news articles and social media content were coded for to assess how existing rape myth narratives were depicted in the Steubenville case. Emphasis is placed on how reporting and social media responses characterized the victim, perpetrators, and the rape itself. The study found that depictions included both legitimizing rape myths and subverting myths through social media and news coverage. Implications for how social media materials were used as evidence in the Steubenville case are also discussed.
... Other research highlights themes of victim blaming in that contributes to unwelcoming and hostile environments (e.g., Lumsden and Morgan 2017; Zaleski et al. 2016). For example, Zaleski and colleagues (2016) examined comment sections of newspaper article postings on social media forums that pertained to cases of rape and sexual assault. ...
... Technology-facilitated and technology-perpetrated violence violates and undermines women's autonomy, producing inequalities. If women and girls are disproportionately experiencing victimization such as online harassment, cyberstalking, etc. (e.g., Jerin and Dolinsky 2001;Reyns et al. 2011Reyns et al. , 2012Tandon and Pritchard 2015); or if they are closed out of online space due to institutionalized or hostile sexism (e.g., Taylor 2003;Zaleski et al. 2016), they may disconnect to avoid harmful experiences. Female persons make up half the population. ...
Chapter
Feminist theories and perspectives place gender at the center of discourse and analysis. This chapter examines feminist theories and perspectives in the field of criminology. Basic concepts/content central to such studies (e.g., sex, gender, “doing gender,” intersectionality) are reviewed, and the development of feminist work and social movements as related to crime is discussed. The chapter follows with an overview of various feminist theories and articulates principles of each, along with how they have enriched criminological thought. The chapter subsequently highlights the application of feminist theories to technologically-perpetrated and technologically-facilitated crimes including “revenge pornography” and image-based abuse, online harassment and e-bile, hacking and hacktivism, and hate crime transgressions. By studying sex, gender, and power dynamics, in combination with other micro- and macro-level factors, a more holistic under- standing of various offenses is offered. Importantly, the chapter also draws attention to how feminist thought shapes implications for research and practice. It closes by emphasizing the need for integrating feminist theories and frameworks into mainstream criminology to continue advancing what we know about victimization, offending, and practice.
... In the examples discussed below, there is an initial, or primary, victimization in which a person becomes a victim. However, if victim blaming occurs, the victim experiences a secondary victimization resulting from the backlash experienced on social media [72]. Table 2 provides a summary of this terminology that we use to explain the application of the just world hypothesis in the context of social media. ...
... Victim blaming occurs in a variety of contexts. For example, a study of rape culture in social media forums revealed that 25% of all comments made on articles discussing rape blamed the victim [72]. ...
... The shifting media landscape presents new opportunities as well as challenges for VAW prevention work. Conversations online frequently occur around current events; the comments sections of news stories, for example, frequently contain victim-blaming and questioning statements, as well as perpetrator-supportive statements [60]. Social media can be sites of resistance for challenging rape culture 1 [1,4,61], however, scholars have also documented emerging and shifting forms of online sexual abuse involving social media [62][63][64]. ...
... [see 80 for further discussion]. To contribute to recent work highlighting the importance of hashtag feminism 7 and other conversation-based feminist activism online [1,3,4,58,60,73,74], the analysis focuses on the data theme "conversation". This theme is particularly salient to timely discussions of #MeToo and broader social change, and was the most frequently-coded theme in the data overall (the term was used 94 times throughout 18 of 19 interviews). ...
Article
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High-profile, social-media-fueled movements such as #MeToo have captured broader public attention in recent years and sparked widespread discussion of violence against women (VAW). However, online prevention work was underway in the years leading up to #MeToo, as the emergence and proliferation of social media enabled individuals to be increasingly active participants in shaping conversations about VAW. Situated within feminist VAW scholarship and the social–ecological framework of violence prevention, this paper draws from interviews with a cross-section of service providers, public educators, activists, advocates, writers, and researchers to analyze “conversation” as a central theme in VAW prevention work in social media. Results reveal that these conversations take place in three central ways: (1) engaging wider audiences in conversations to raise awareness about VAW; (2) narrative shifts challenging societal norms that support or enable VAW; and (3) mobilization around high-profile news stories. The paper finds that, through these conversations, this work moves beyond individual-level risk factors to target much needed community- and societal-level aspects, primarily harmful social norms that circulate and become reinforced in digital media spaces. Moreover, while bystander intervention has traditionally been approached as an offline pursuit to intervene in face-to-face situations of VAW, this paper argues that we can understand and value these VAW prevention efforts as an online form of bystander intervention. Finally, resource challenges and VAW prevention workers’ experiences of harassment and abuse related to their online work highlights a need to strengthen social and institutional supports for this work.
... Certainly, evidence exists that those who have been victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault have been shamed into keeping silent in some circumstances, for fear of retribution. They likely feel they will be victimized again or found culpable for a role in the events (see e.g., K. L. Zaleski, K. L. Zaleski, et al. 2016). However, the findings here suggest that perhaps views have changed toward these situations, and that the increased awareness may shift those views of isolation and provide an atmosphere of compassion for the victim. ...
Article
The topic of sexual violence has received significant attention in recent years through both the public and media agendas. This study replicates a 2014 study by Armstrong and Mahone using the backdrop of the #Metoo movement to examine the role of social media, views of rape culture and bystander intervention in predicting one’s willingness to engage in collective action against sexual violence. A survey of young adults conducted in Fall 2019 found that the likelihood to engage in collective action against it remains strong. Results indicated that bystander intervention remained a key predictor, but that awareness of the #Metoo movement appeared to counteract the views on rape culture in predicting collective action. Implications for scholars and practitioners were discussed.
... As some have argued, the need for news outlets to attract viewers likely incentivizes a focus on "controversial" or unusual rape cases involving strangers or extreme violence (e.g., Benedict, 1992;Kitzinger, 2009), coverage which can reinforce the myth that incidents do not actually constitute rape if they involve an acquaintance or do not include violence. Even beyond the news content itself, the accompanying context of stories related to sexual assault may promote myths-across four major newspapers, upwards of 1 in 4 comments on articles about rape blamed the victim for their sexual assault (Zaleski, Gundersen, Baes, Estupinian, & Vergara, 2016). Rape myths in news coverage are consequential, as brief exposure to news headlines containing rape myths increased victim blaming among men . ...
Article
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Understanding the antecedents and consequences of rape myths is important for sexual assault prevention programming. We investigated whether general perceptions of media predict rape myth endorsement among community college students, a group with elevated sexual assault risk. Students who perceived greater similarity between people they know and people in media reported higher endorsement of rape myths that blame the victim and exonerate the accused. This relationship did not emerge for perceptions of one’s personal similarity to people in media, with the exception of men’s endorsement of myths exonerating male perpetrators.
... Rape culture is permissive of actions, thoughts, and words that are, or seem as though, sexual assault and sexual harassment is acceptable ( Nicoletti et al. 2009). Further discussion around rape culture includes normalizing sexual aggression, victim blaming, and the acceptance of rape myths ( Zaleski et al. 2016). Scholars have documented the prevalence of rape culture in media from video games (Anderson and Bushman 2000), advertisements (Capella et al. 2013), social media ( Zaleski et al. 2016) and print news ( Franiuk et al. 2008). ...
Article
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Abstract: Sexual violence in the military is woven into history, with stories and myths that date back to the times of ancient Rome. For example, military conquests thousands of years ago involved looting, pillaging, and raping—the “spoils of war” for the winning side. Over time, women, seen as sexual outlets, continued to be used to boost soldier morale in combat. Today, instances such as the Marine sexual misconduct scandal are still associated with notions of male empowerment through victimization of enlisted and civilian women, despite female officers making up 14% of service members across all military branches. To determine if the optics of violent and predatory behavior within the military has changed from the “spoils of war”, the current study utilized qualitative content analysis to analyze the media frames of military sexual assault and sexual harassment over the past 20 years. Through holistic reflection, the inquiry explores military framing by the media during high-profile incidents of misconduct from 1996 to 2013. The Aberdeen Proving Ground, Lackland Airforce Base, and Airforce Academy sexual assault cases demonstrate that responsibility and human-interest frames are the most prominent optics used by the media to describe these events. Further, since the first case in 1996, media coverage of sexual harassment and assault within the military has declined significantly. This suggest that, while media framing may accurately reflect these offenses, these offenses are considered less and less news worthy.
... The documents were also written by individual judges. The description of the crime situation could be changed by judges (Zaleski et al. 2016). In fact, several victims' resistant behaviors were described only as Bresistance,^which cannot lead to categorization of specific resistant behavior. ...
Article
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Previous research has studied effective self-protective behaviors, such as a victim’s physical resistance leading to the avoidance of sexual victimization. However, there are few studies on effective self-protective behavioral sequences, such as an offender’s physical violence followed by the victim’s physical resistance. Our study aims to clarify these sequences through a supervised machine learning approach. The samples consisted of 88 official documents on sexual assaults involving women, committed by male offenders incarcerated in a Japanese local prison. These crimes were classified as completed or attempted cases based on judges’ evaluations. All phrases in each crime description were also partitioned and coded according to the Japanese Penal Code. The support vector machine identified the most likely sequences of behaviors to predict completed and attempted cases. Approximately 90% of cases were correctly predicted through the identification of behavior sequences. The sequence involving an offender’s violence followed by the victim’s physical resistance predicted attempted sexual assault. However, the sequence involving a victim’s general resistance followed by the offender’s violence predicted completed sexual assault. Victims’ and offender’s behaviors need to be interpreted from behavioral sequence perspectives rather than a single action perspective. The supervised machine learning methodologies may extract self-protective behavioral sequences in documents more effectively than other methodologies. The self-protective sequence is a fundamental part of resistance during sexual assault. Training focused on protective sequence contributes to the improvement of resistance training and rape avoidance rates.
... Indeed, these sociocultural messages can permeate all social structures, including the justice system (Walker, 2017) and political/presidential systems (Victor, 2017). Messages related to rape culture have also been identified throughout social media forums (Zaleski, Gunderson, Baes, Estupinian, & Vergara, 2016). Exposure to and acceptance of such rape supportive messages has important implications for behavior. ...
Article
This review adapts a previously prescribed multifactorial model of multiple perpetrator sexual offending (Harkins & Dixon, 2010) to more fully inform explanations of different types of interpersonal violent crime. First, factors within the sociocultural and situational contexts of the model are reviewed, as well as the interactions between them and the individual context, to examine their role in explaining a broad range of violent crimes. Exemplars of street-gang and intimate partner violence are then examined to assess how the empirical evidence supports the proposed framework. It is concluded that the adapted multifactorial model lays the foundations for fuller causal explanations of violent crime without restricting the focus to a specific crime type, or level of explanation, in addition to bridging interdisciplinary theoretical gaps.
... Nicht zuletzt wären experimentelle Studien nützlich, die differentielle Effekte unterschiedlicher Videos messen. Weiterhin könnten Methoden und Befunde der Forschung über Social-Media-Kommunikation zu Vergewaltigungen (Stubbs-Richardson et al. 2018;Zaleski et al. 2016) fruchtbar gemacht werden. ...
Article
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Zusammenfassung Einleitung: Sexueller Kindesmissbrauch (SKM) ist ein weit verbreitetes und gravierendes gesellschaftliches Problem. Eine verbesserte Problemlösung im Sinne wirkungsvoller Prävention und Intervention hängt von vielen Faktoren ab – nicht zuletzt davon, wie die Medien die breite Öffentlichkeit und die Politik über das komplexe Problem informieren. Aus diesem Grund wurde bereits mehrfach untersucht, wie SKM in Presse und Fernsehen, Büchern und Kinofilmen dargestellt wird. Forschungsziele: Die vorliegende Studie betrachtet erstmals, wie sexueller Kindesmissbrauch auf der Videoplattform YouTube thematisiert wird. Die Untersuchung von YouTube ist besonders relevant, da es sich national wie international um die reichweitenstärkste Social-Media-Plattform handelt. Methoden: Auf der Basis einer Analyse von N = 300 deutschsprachigen sowie ausgewählten englischsprachigen SKM-bezogenen YouTube-Videos wird herausgearbeitet, 1) von wem diese Videos stammen, 2) welche Form und welche Inhalte sie haben, 3) wie ihre Qualität einzuschätzen ist, und 4) welche Nutzungsweisen ihre Social-Media-Metriken erkennen lassen. Ergebnisse: Im Vergleich zur massenmedialen Behandlung von SKM zeigen sich in der SKM-Thematisierung auf YouTube spezifische Stärken (z. B. verstärkte Beteiligung Betroffener am Diskurs), aber auch neue Schwächen (z. B. ideologische Instrumentalisierung des Missbrauchsproblems). Ebenso zeigen sich Differenzen in der Repräsentation des Missbrauchsproblems zwischen der deutsch- und der englischsprachigen YouTube-Sphäre. Schlussfolgerung: Viele Forschungslücken zur SKM-Thematisierung auf YouTube sind noch zu schließen. Die pädagogische, beraterische und journalistische Praxis sind gefordert, die SKM-Thematisierung auf YouTube konstruktiv mitzugestalten.
... However, there were still around 12% of all tweets in the present study that used the me too men hashtag in ways which perpetuated common rape myths. With social media being a primary resource of cultural opinions for many (Zaleski et al., 2016), it is vital for helping professionals to understand the values and messages commonly shared on these platforms. It is important that helping professionals know what vulnerable populations, such as male assault survivors, may encounter online and possibly internalize. ...
Article
While similarities exist between male and female survivors of sexual assault, unique barriers often prohibit males from speaking out about their experiences. The me too hashtag was created in an effort to end rape culture. Shortly after the me too hashtag began gaining popularity on social media sites, the me too men hashtag surfaced as men were not receiving recognition for their experiences of sexual assault. This study involved a content analysis of 379 public tweets that used the me too men hashtag. The current study provides a greater understanding and awareness of male sexual assault victims’ experiences on social media. Implications for both clinical work and future research are presented.
... Victims of sexual harassment and assault often face criticism when sharing their stories. For example, a recent study analyzed comments found on rape survivors' tweets and revealed that over 5% of them were victim-demeaning comments (Zaleski, Gundersen, Baes, Estupinian, & Vergara, 2016). This shows that by sharing their experiences on social media, victims may be exposed to secondary victimization. ...
Article
In recent years, social media has been widely used as a tool for feminist social movements, addressing social problems such as sexual assault traumatization. This research aims at understanding how social media users utilized Twitter to describe traumatic sexual assault experiences and reasons victims chose not to disclose their experiences (Study 1), and how users became a part of the digital activism (i.e., social media movement against sexual assault) to increase social actions (Study 2). Tweets using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport and #MeToo were extracted. Thematic analyses were used to analyze tweets across the two studies. Results from Study 1 revealed that social media victims who self‐disclosed their victimization stories often reported having serious psychological impacts, a sense of helplessness, and issues with the police. Study 2 further uncovered that social media users engaged in hashtag activism through discussing views on relevant political and social issues, sharing resources to help sexual assault victims, and promoting social actions (e.g., protests, voting).
... This question is worthy of systematic investigation in future research. In terms of proportion, a recent study categorized as many of 25% of the online comments in response to articles about rape and sexual assault in online news websites or Facebook pages as victim-blaming in nature (Zaleski et al., 2016). Another Twitter-focused study found that, across several days of tweets on three specific rape cases, victim-blaming tweets received more retweets than victim-supporting tweets, and Twitter users who engaged in victim-blaming had more followers, on average, than users who posted victim-supporting content (Stubbs-Richardson, Rader, & Cosby, 2018). ...
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Negative reactions to interpersonal violence survivors are reproduced in patterned ways across multiple social settings. This chapter proposes a framework of cultural stigma surrounding interpersonal violence, one with utility in explaining a paradoxical pattern of condemnation of survivors (relative to perpetrators) and persistent delegitimization of interpersonal violence experiences (relative to impersonal or unintentional traumas). In the proposed framework, the state of being a victim is conceptualized as inherently stigmatizing in the setting of dominant Western cultural values that uplift invulnerability and individual responsibility. Cultural stigma enables disavowal of vulnerability and mutual accountability, reproducing cultural constructions of violence that legitimize abuse. Proposed forms of cultural stigma are denial, minimization, distortion, victim-blame, and labeling. This chapter summarizes relevant research and highlights ways that psychology as a discipline has transmitted such cultural stigma. The final section considers disciplinary avenues to resist stigma, toward a cultural awakening that affirms the full humanity of survivors.
... However, the term online sexual violence cannot be generalized in the real culture of violence because it does not accurately reflect the location of technological mediation in acts of sexual abuse, more widely open than in the past (Gundersen and Zaleski 2020;Zaleski et al. 2016). Therefore, the complexity of the issue of online gender-based violence that occurs in society must see in a culture of technology and more meaningful social discourse. ...
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The transition of all individual activities in the home gives rise to two forms of violence against women, such as domestic violence and online sexual violence. Specifically, this article argues that independent quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the orientation of community sexual violence to technology-facilitated sexual abuse. Social media networks become a trajectory of changes in sexual violence that was initially physical into online sexual violence. This research uses a qualitative method with a case study approach to understanding the phenomenon of online sexual violence. The data presented here refer to the experiences of four survivors with different backgrounds and stories. The results show that technology has facilitated digital abuse, which impacts a series of dangerous behaviors experienced in social media. Women, as part of social media users, are very vulnerable to experiencing online sexual violence from personal relationships, boyfriend, friendship, and relatives. Space and time in the real world folded in such a way as to provide opportunities for the reality of virtual networks to become a realm of gender-based violence. At the same time, the neutrality of social media then turns into a means of supporting gender inequality.
Article
Media discussions of sexual violence have increased since the rapid growth of the social media movement #metoo. Specifically, the phrase resurfaced in abundance in 2017 when actress, producer, activist Alyssa Milano encouraged her social media followers to reply “me too” if they had ever been sexually harassed or assaulted. In addition to raising awareness, media coverage of historically silent topics such as sexual assault can be beneficial as it relates to widespread education. Conversely, widespread dissemination of sexual violence misperceptions—also known as rape myths—can perpetuate rape culture (e.g., linking sexuality to violence and the subsequent normalization of sexual violence). Therefore, this study examines student perceptions of sexual assault in the media using in-depth semi-structured interviews with 34 students and alumni. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Article
The hashtag #MeToo was created for use on social media platforms to allow survivors of sexual violence to share their experiences. Our study describes a phenomenological analysis of college women's experiences with the #MeToo movement and its impact on their help‐seeking behaviors. Participants had varied reactions to the movement and experiences with help‐seeking, but broadly experienced the movement as a positive force in society. Implications for college counselors and recommendations for future research are provided.
Article
This article analyzes coverage of the Stanford, California rape case, using a qualitative thematic press analysis to demonstrate how “rape culture” and penal populist framing intersected. Pulling from national newspapers, as well as diverse online fora, we show how characteristics of the case such as the perceived leniency toward the accused were featured in rape culture and penal populist narratives. In addition, we document a counternarrative that critiqued feminism to pit antirape activists against justice reformers, framing the case as exemplifying a “culture of mass incarceration.” We discuss the significance of this in the context of broader justice reform.
Article
During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, violence against women was salient in the narratives surrounding both major party candidates: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. These discussions surrounding violence against women reflect a cultural ideology that excuses and/or supports such violence. This study aimed to understand the function of politics, particularly presidential campaigns, voting behavior, and candidate selection on perceptions of rape culture. Data were collected from two different samples: pre- and postelection from a medium-sized university. Results demonstrated differences between the samples on perceptions of rape culture as well as differences within the postelection sample based on candidate selection.
Article
This content analysis (N = 1,527) examined the presence of rape culture acceptance (dismissal of event, victim blaming, discrediting survivor, and threats to survivor) and anti-rape culture (support for survivor, and mention of: systemic problem, rape culture, and male power dominance) in news coverage of Anita Hill and Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony against a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. Results show higher rape acceptance in Blasey Ford news coverage and no difference between the cases and anti-rape culture. Online news media focused on personal impact to Blasey Ford, while traditional news media focused on impact to Thomas Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas.
Article
Image Based Sexual Abuse (IBSA) denotes the creation, distribution, and/or threat of distribution of intimate images of another person online without their consent. The present study aims to extend emerging research on perpetration of IBSA with the development and preliminary validation for the moral disengagement in IBSA scale, while also examining the role of the dark triad, sadism, and sexism in a person’s likelihood to perpetrate IBSA. One hundred and twenty English speaking participants (76 women, 44 men; mean age=33 years) were recruited via social media. Machiavellianism and psychopathy were found to predict IBSA proclivity, whilst rivalry narcissism predicted greater feelings of excitement and amusement towards IBSA. Moral disengagement predicted IBSA proclivity and blaming the victim. It was also positively related to greater feelings of amusement and excitement towards IBSA. This suggests a distinct personality profile of IBSA perpetrators, and that moral disengagement mechanisms play a role in facilitating and reinforcing this behaviour. El abuso sexual basado en la imagen (ASBI) describe la creación, distribución y/o amenaza de distribución en Internet de imágenes íntimas de otra persona sin su consentimiento. Este estudio pretende extender la investigación emergente sobre la comisión de ASBI con el desarrollo y validación preliminar de la separación moral en la escala ASBI, al tiempo que se examina el papel de la tríada oscura, el sadismo y el sexismo en la probabilidad de que una persona cometa ASBI. Se reclutó mediante redes sociales a 120 participantes de habla inglesa (76 mujeres, 44 hombres, edad promedio de 33 años). Se concluyó que la personalidad maquiavélica y la psicopatía pueden predecir la proclividad de cometer ASBI, mientras que el narcisismo de rivalidad predecía mayores sentimientos de emoción y diversión hacia el ASBI. La desconexión moral predecía la proclividad al ASBI y la culpabilización de la víctima. También estaba positivamente relacionada con mayores sentimientos de diversión y emoción hacia el ASBI. Esto insinúa un perfil de personalidad concreto de las personas que cometen ASBI, así como que los mecanismos de desconexión moral desempeñan un papel a la hora de facilitar y reforzar esa conducta. Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1213
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In April 2016, the #Endrapeculture protests spread across South African university campuses. These protests raised awareness of university policies regarding rape and sexual assault cases on campus. The protesters accused the university management of perpetuating a rape culture through policies which reinforced victim-blaming and protected perpetrators of sexual assault. Through the use of hashtag campaigns and public demonstrations, the movement quickly gained momentum across social and mainstream media. This momentum served to put pressure on university administrations to be accountable for cases of sexual assault on campuses. Movements calling out universities for perpetuating a rape culture are not unique to South Africa; as similar movements have been initiated at other university campuses across the globe. This article examines the rape culture discourse that emerged on Facebook following the #Endrapeculture protests. Specifically, we look at how people perceived rape culture and the role of university management in handling sexual assault. Naturalistic observation was used on comments from public posts and articles from Facebook relating to the 2016 #Endrapeculture protest. These comments were subjected to qualitative content analysis. Two main themes are discussed in this article: Rape/Rape Culture and The Role of Universities and Law Enforcement. Many commenters indicated that cases of rape and sexual assault should be addressed by law enforcement and should not be handled by university management. We argue that rape culture education should be formalised in South Africa. Keywords: Social media, qualitative content analysis, naturalistic observation, rape culture
Article
The spread of the #MeToo movement in China has led women to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment through social media. However, most of these incidents have not been responded or acknowledged by the suspects, and even if they responded, their attitude was to evade accusations through various strategies. This paper analyzes the response of 15 male suspects who were revealed to the public in 2017 and 2018, and finds that the discourse strategies they used include mixing up the characters’ images, shaping a victim identity for themselves, transferring the main issue, and beautifying harassment behaviors. These discourse strategies show that sexual harassment suspects remain deeply entrenched by patriarchal thinking. The suspects’ ignoring the experience of female victims continue to sustain the unequal gender power relations.
Article
Although drawing an equivalence between sexual and non-sexual violence has been critical to the feminist analysis of rape, the distinction between the two has not been the subject of much empirical research. Using the longitudinal component of the National Comorbidity Survey this study compares the long-term associations of sexual and non-sexual physical violence with psychological distress. In addition, it explores associations of sexual and physical violence with perceptions of self and others. The results reveal similarities and differences between the two types of violence. For psychological distress, the associations are statistically equivalent—both are positively associated with distress. But only sexual violence is associated with self-esteem, self-criticism, and attachment style. Survivors of sexual violence report much lower self-esteem and much more self-criticism. They are also much less likely to report a secure attachment style and, instead, report more interpersonal avoidance and anxiety. The association between sexual violence and perceptions of self and others explains much of the association between sexual violence and psychological distress, and differences in the associations are not driven by other measured characteristics of violence.
Article
Determining the influence of irrelevant victim information on potential jurors is particularly important in the current age of social media. The present study explored the effects of pretrial publicity concerning the complainant shared via social media posts, mock juror sex, and rape myth acceptance on mock juror judgments in a sexual assault case. One hundred and fifty-six community members residing in the United States (77 males, 78 females, 1 decline to answer) over the age of 18 were randomly assigned to view either pro-complainant (n = 52), anti-complainant (n = 53), or control (n = 51) messaging in social media posts before reading a mock sexual assault trial transcript, completing a post-trial questionnaire, and answering questions about rape myth acceptance. Results indicated that participants in the anti-complainant condition were significantly less likely to select a guilty verdict compared to the control condition. Male participants and those that believed consent was present were also significantly less likely to select a guilty verdict. Moreover, participants with higher rape myth acceptance were more likely to believe that the complainant had consented. Results highlight social media as a potential source of exposure of inadmissible pretrial information that may influence trial outcomes.
Article
In the United States, rape culture is a prevalent phenomenon that has contributed to desensitization to scenes in popular media that might have been considered unacceptable in the past. This paper explores the proposal of a model (Rape Culture and Violence Legitimization Model, RCVL) to understand the factors that prompt a society’s focus and often acceptance of rape culture. A component of RCVL is then applied to the Disney Movie, Maleficent, to explore one facet of the proposed model. Future applications are discussed to continue societal change directed toward these important issues both inside and outside the social work classroom.
Article
Public shaming – a common practice with historical roots – is defined as an individual’s public communication of disapproval or contempt for the behaviour of another individual. Previous research has explored fans’ engagement in public shaming of professional athletes in response to athletes’ transgressions and found fans withdraw support and provide extensive descriptions of their desired psychosocial, physical, and career-related consequences for the athletes. The existing literature also questions the extent to which public shaming of professional athletes online may be influenced by athletes’ social identities. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to explore the ways in which fans’ public shaming practices may be influenced by the gender of professional athletes. A social constructionist perspective guided our qualitative thematic content analysis, which examined 7,700 comments by sport fans on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter directed at professional athletes in response to their legal, social, and sport-specific norm transgressions. We implemented methodological pluralism to analyze the dataset through a gendered lens. The findings suggest fans’ public shaming practices illustrate contentious views on gender through explicit objectification of females, promotion of hyper-masculinity, and victim blaming on social media. The findings are interpreted in light of the extant literature related to rape culture in sport and the broader societal implications of fans’ online behaviours are discussed. Ethical issues embedded within research of this nature are also explored and recommendations for future research are proposed.
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We analyse rejection experiences in mobile dating applications (MDA), in particular Tinder, based on the variables of gender and age. To do so, we conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with forty (40) heterosexual Tinder users (10 women aged 18-28 years, 11 women aged 40-60, 10 men aged 18-28, and 9 men aged 40-60). Results showed that rather than explicitly hostile experiences, users encounter a gamified soft-rejection technology where being not-selected or discarded (or not-selecting or discarding others) emerges as an apparently harmless element of a dating experience that is structured into six successive stages (self-classification, selection of partners, match, first conversation, progress, face-to-face). We discuss these findings, concluding that this paradigm may be new but it still mirrors traditional structures of machismo and ageism.
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The present study conducted thematic analyses of tweets including #WhyIDidntReport ( N = 500) to examine barriers to reporting sexual victimization. Barriers to reporting were identified across individual, interpersonal, and sociocultural levels of the social ecology. Common barriers to reporting included labeling of the experience, age, fear, privacy concerns, self-blame, betrayal/shock, the relation/power of the perpetrator, negative reactions to disclosure, and the belief—or personal experience—that reporting would not result in justice and societal norms.
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Although an extensive literature has explored the effects of race, socioeconomic status, and attractiveness on perceptions of rape defendants, few studies have considered the influence of celebrity status (and its potential interaction with race) on people's perceptions of events related to rape. As part of a 2 x 2 between-subjects design, 71 undergraduates (32 men, 39 women) read a fictitious newspaper account of an alleged rape that varied the defendant's race (Black or White) and celebrity status (famous or nonfamous), and they were then asked to make judgments in response to the event. As predicted, being a celebrity had distinct advantages for White defendants, whereas for Black defendants, being a celebrity was a liability. This apparent backlash against Black celebrities is consistent with aversive racism theory (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986), which proposes that although most people today are not openly racist, a subtle form of prejudice appears when people feel safe to express it and when they can justify their feelings.
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Previous studies have focused on why people use Facebook and on the effects of ‘‘Facebooking’’ on well being. This study focused more on how people use Facebook. An international sample of 1,026 Facebook users (284 males, 735 females; mean age = 30.24) completed an online survey about their Facebook activity. Females, younger people, and those not currently in a committed relationship were the most active Facebook users, and there were many age-, sex-, and relationship-related main effects. Females spent more time on Facebook, had more Facebook friends, and were more likely to use profile pictures for impression management; women and older people engaged in more online family activity. Relationship status had an impact on the Facebook activity of males, but little effect on the activity of females. The results are interpreted within a framework generated by an evolutionary perspective and previous research on the psychology of gossip.
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This article reviews research literature examining the effects of key factors that influence individual's attitudes towards victims of rape. The impact of rape myths, gender roles and substance use on attributions of blame in cases of rape are discussed. The phenomenon of victim-blaming within such cases is explored with reference to the attribution theory to help explain why rape victims are sometimes seen as deserving of their misfortune. Findings indicate that men demonstrate higher rape myth acceptance than women and attribute higher levels of blame to victims than women; women who violate traditional gender roles are attributed more blame than those women who do not; and women who consume alcohol prior to their attack are attributed higher levels of blame than those who are not intoxicated. The findings are discussed with reference to the implications for the Criminal Justice System and future interventions for both victims and perpetrators of rape. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Article
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Although male rape is being reported more often than before, the majority of rape victims continue to be women. Rape myths-false beliefs used mainly to shift the blame of rape from perpetrators to victims-are also prevalent in today's society and in many ways contribute toward the pervasiveness of rape. Despite this, there has been limited consideration as to how rape prevention programs and policies can address this phenomenon, and there is no updated information on the demographic, attitudinal, or behavioral factors currently associated with rape myths. This research aimed to address this gap by examining the correlates of rape-myths acceptance (RMA) in published studies. A total of 37 studies were reviewed, and their results were combined using meta-analytic techniques. Overall, the findings indicated that men displayed a significantly higher endorsement of RMA than women. RMA was also strongly associated with hostile attitudes and behaviors toward women, thus supporting feminist premise that sexism perpetuates RMA. RMA was also found to be correlated with other "isms," such as racism, heterosexism, classism, and ageism. These findings suggest that rape prevention programs and policies must be broadened to incorporate strategies that also address other oppressive beliefs concurrent with RMA. Indeed, a renewed awareness of how RMA shapes societal perceptions of rape victims, including perceptions of service providers, could also reduce victims' re-victimization and enhance their coping mechanisms.
Article
Our research capitalized on a naturalistic data collection opportunity to investigate responses to experimental evidence of gender bias within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). We analyzed 831 written comments made by members of the public in response to three prominent articles reporting on experimental evidence of science faculty members’ gender biases. Utilizing a mixed-method approach (i.e., thematic and quantitative analysis), we identified the nature and frequency of positive and negative responses, and we investigated possible gender and professional differences in what commenters wrote. Although acknowledgment of gender bias was the most prevalent category, a wide range of positive (e.g., calls for social change) and negative (e.g., justifications of gender bias) reactions emerged. Among the subsample of 423 comments for which it was possible to code commenters’ gender, gender differences arose for the majority of categories, such that men were more likely than women to post negative responses and women were more likely than men to post positive responses. Results were unaffected by commenters’ own STEM field affiliation. We discuss implications for the role of clearly demonstrated bias in prejudice recognition and reduction as well as the development of STEM diversity interventions.
Article
This study examined the extent to which narative versus nonnarrative blogs and compliant versus defiant user comments affect optimistic bias and behavioral intentions related to skin cancer prevention. Participants (N = 181) read one of four versions of a blog post about skin cancer that described a blogger's journey with skin cancer diagnosis and treatment, and included specific recommendations for skin cancer prevention. The post was written in either narrative or nonnarrative style, and was accompanied by reader comments that either agreed or disagreed with the prevention recommendations provided. Findings indicate that blog format reduces optimistic bias and increases behavioral intentions. Specifically, narrative blogs affect the two outcomes by way of eliciting transportation into the narrative world. Blog comments, on the other hand, were shown to have inconsistent effects on optimistic bias and behavioral intentions, via perceived social norms. While the social norms elicited by compliant blog comments had a direct positive effect on behavioral intentions, the indirect effect (via optimistic bias) was negative. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as suggestions for future research, are discussed.
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Uncivil discourse is a growing concern in American rhetoric, and this trend has expanded beyond traditional media to online sources, such as audience comments. Using an experiment given to a sample representative of the U.S. population, we examine the effects online incivility on perceptions toward a particular issue—namely, an emerging technology, nanotechnology. We found that exposure to uncivil blog comments can polarize risk perceptions of nanotechnology along the lines of religiosity and issue support.
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This study examined the relationship between three of the “Big Five” traits (neuroticism, extraversion, and openness), self-esteem, loneliness and narcissism, and Facebook use. Participants were 393 first year undergraduate psychology students from a medium-sized Australian university who completed an online questionnaire. Negative binomial regression models showed that students with higher openness levels reported spending more time on Facebook and having more friends on Facebook. Interestingly, students with higher levels of loneliness reported having more Facebook friends. Extraversion, neuroticism, self-esteem and narcissism did not have significant associations with Facebook use. It was concluded that students who are high in openness use Facebook to connect with others in order to discuss a wide range of interests, whereas students who are high in loneliness use the site to compensate for their lack of offline relationships.
Article
Two studies examine the prevalence and effects of rape myths in the print media covering a real-life case of alleged sexual assault. Study 1 was an archival study of 156 sources from around the country. Articles about the Kobe Bryant case were coded for instances of rape myths, among other variables. Of the articles, 65 mentioned at least one rape myth (with "she's lying" being the single most common myth perpetuated). Study 2 assessed participants' (N = 62) prior knowledge of the Bryant case and exposed them to a myth-endorsing or myth-challenging article about the case. Those exposed to the myth-endorsing article were more likely to believe that Bryant was not guilty and the alleged victim was lying. The implications for victim reporting and reducing sexual assault in general are discussed.
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