Saturday, March 12, 2016

Sexual Assault Supportive Attitudes: Rape Myth Acceptance and Token Resistance in Greek and Non-Greek College Students from Two University Samples in the United States

Colleges are rape-prone cultures with high rates of sexual victimization. Fraternities' and sororities' relationships with sexual assault are consistent themes in literature focusing on sexual violence among college students. Previous research suggests that fraternity men are more likely to endorse rape-supportive attitudes compared with non-Greek men or sorority women. 

The present study examines rape-supportive attitudes as well as rape and sexual assault victimization in college students with a focus on gender and Greek-life (i.e., involvement in fraternities or sororities) status variables. College students (N = 1,002) completed a survey including the Token Resistance to Sex Scale (TRSS), Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale-Short Form (IRMA-S), and items related to past experiences of nonconsensual sex. Two regression models tested predictors of token resistance and rape myth acceptance. Chi-square analyses tested between-group differences of experiencing rape and sexual assault. Gender (p < .001), Greek status (p < .001), and race/ethnicity (p < .001) were predictors for TRSS scores. 

For IRMA scores, gender (p < .001), Greek status (p < .001), and race/ethnicity variables (p < .001) were also significant. Interaction terms revealed that Greek men had higher token resistance and rape myth acceptance than any other group. Chi-square analyses indicate women more frequently report experiences of rape (χ2 = 25.57, df = 1, p < .001) and sexual assault (χ2 = 31.75, df = 1, p < .001). 

Men report high rates (40.8%) of experiencing sexual assault "because refusing was useless." No differences of victimization rates were found between Greeks and non-Greeks. Gender and sexual scripting theory can help explain gender differences in attitudes and experiences. Greater endorsement of rape myth acceptance and token resistance by Greeks, who influence college party culture, could be contributing to a culture conducive to rape. 

Findings demonstrate a continued need for interventions focused on shifting sociocultural dynamics (e.g., traditional roles and sexual scripting) on college campuses.

Purchase full article at:

  • 1University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA.
  • 2University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA Indiana University, Bloomington, USA
  • 3University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, USA University of Oklahoma, Norman, USA. 
  •  2016 Mar 3. pii: 0886260516636064.

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