A review of the role of radical feminist theories in the understanding of rape myth acceptance

Louise Maxwell, Graham Scott

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Research into rape myth acceptance (RMA) first emerged in the 1970s, when authors such as Brownmiller (1975) and Burt (1980) proposed that rape was a mechanism that allowed men to exert power over women and that the endorsement of rape myths justified this sexual dominance. These influential theories have meant that subsequent definitions of rape myths have failed to acknowledge male victims of serious sexual assault, despite an increase in prevalence rates. More recent research has attempted to explore RMA in relation to male victims, with results suggesting that men are more likely than women to endorse rape myths regarding male victims when the victim is assumed to be homosexual, or when the victim is heterosexual and the perpetrator is female. Brownmiller's theory is challenged and a more holistic view of the importance of sex-role traditionality is explored, while acknowledging the contribution of individual factors relating to the development of RMA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-54
JournalJournal of Sexual Aggression
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2014


  • sex roles
  • Rape myth acceptance
  • perpetrator
  • gender
  • victim
  • feminist theory

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