Sexual Assault And Rape Myths Essay

Sexual Assault And Rape Myths Essay

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Sexual violence is a national issue that permeates every aspect society. Sexual assault and rape is an ongoing problem, evident by the troubling statistic that roughly 20 million out of 112 million women (18.0%) in the United States have been raped during their lifetime (Kilpatrick, Resnick, Ruggiero, Conoscenti, McCauley, 2007). Despite the continuous push for gender equality, the current culture of society perpetuates victim-blaming tendencies towards innate cognitive processes and media influences.
Literature Review
Cognitive Processes
Rape myths. Rape myths are one way sexual violence, namely victim blaming in regards to sexual assault, is perpetuated and maintained in the current social atmosphere. Edwards, Turchik, Dardis, Reynolds, and Gidycz (2011) explored the multiple rape myths prevalent in society that work to excuse the deplorable behaviors of sexual assault. Such a notion of rape myths was developed in the 1970’s in order to create a construct explaining incorrect cultural beliefs that were assumed to be at the root of a large amount of aggression towards women, and included notions of victim blaming and rationalizing acts of sexual violence. Edwards et al. (2011) argue that due to the United States being historically rooted in a patriarchal system, giving power and status to men, rape myths took hold within the population and continue to impact the perception of sexual assault. As women are sometimes marginalized with this patriarchal society, rape myths unfortunately often act as a means to legitimize and rationalize sexual violence against women.
Definitions for a rape myth have evolved over time, but is generally accepted to consist of attitudes and beliefs that are generally false, but are widely and persistentl...


... middle of paper ...


...n punishing the offender and improve society’s population.
Stereotypes blah blah
Rape myths have functional consequences within the legal realm as well. If held, even implicitly, rape myths present in attorneys may affect the entire legal process. If victims can establish credibility through the grave stereotyping that often occurs with initial reports of assault, subsequent interactions with attorneys may be tainted if the attorneys hold support for even one rape myth. Those with support of rape myths will tend to blame the victims more, which beyond affecting the victim, may lead to lighter sentences for offenders.
Working perhaps in tandem with the internal cognitive factors, is the influencial external factor of the media. Through controversial imagery and/or literature, all mediums of media can work to validate and affirm the aforementioned cognitive tendencies.

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