Differences in the Acceptance of Rape Myths by College Students in Criminal Justice Versus Other Majors

Heather Silver
Christine E. Rasche, University of North Florida

This study attempted to identify whether college students in different majors (e.g. criminal justice compared to computer science or business) have different attitudes or believe in different myths concerning the issue of rape. The researchers hypothesized that stuents majoring in criminal justice and other social sciences were more likely to have routinely received factual information concerning sexual assault than those majoring in other disciplines such as business and computer science and therefore would be less likely to believe in traditional rape myths. None of the hypotheses were supported by the data. Criminal justice majors were no more likely than other majors to view rape as a crime of violene and were just as likely as other majors to place blame on the rape victim for her victimization because of her appearance or behavior. Most criminal justice majors in this sample did not classify their attitudes towards social issues as liberal, perhaps because most said they were no more likely to have been exposed to movies, books, lectures, or classroom discussions about sexual assault than other majors. The implications for rape victims who will be served by the criminal justice practitioners of the future represented by these studens is discouraging.

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Updated 05/20/2006