Modelling College Students' Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Rape Complaints

Liz Marie Marciniak, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

Victim falsification is an issue that is unique to female victims of the crime of rape. A national study of sexual victimization on college campuses showed that the rate of rape victimization among young college women is disproportionately high. Despite the significance of research concerning rape victim believability among college students, few studies have explored predictors of their attitudes about victim falsification. This research represents a pilot study of college students' opinions about the extent of false claims of rape. This study will test a path analytic model of attitudes separately for males and females. It is hypothesized that sociocultural factors, such as subject's level of acceptance of traditional gender role stereotypes and acceptance of interpersonal violence, as well as background variables like socioeconomic status, and religiosity will distinguish level of agreement with statements about victim falsification. Possible avenues for intervention, especially education, are discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006