Washington | Nearly a third of college men in the US admit they would have intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse if nobody would ever know and there would not be any consequences, a shocking new study has found.
However, far fewer men admit to having any intentions to rape a woman when the word rape is actually used during the course of questioning, researchers said. Approximately 32 per cent of study participants said that they would have intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences, researchers said.
The paper, Denying Rape but Endorsing Forceful Intercourse: Exploring Differences Among Responders, found that only 13.6 per cent admit to having any intentions to rape a woman under these same circumstances. According to Sarah R Edwards, an assistant professor of counselling psychology at the University of North Dakota, the No 1 point is there are people that will say they would force a woman to have sex but would deny they would rape a woman.
Earlier research has also come to the conclusion that when survey items describe behaviours instead of simply labelling them more men will admit to sexually coercive behaviours in the past and more women will self-report past victimisation, the researchers said in the study published in the journal Violence and Gender. The new study asked the study participants whether they endorsed forced sex and whether they endorsed rape, as well as a number of questions meant to gauge their levels of hostility and sexual callousness toward women.
They found that those men willing to admit to intentions to rape harboured hostility – such as the belief that women are manipulative or deceitful – and had angry and unfriendly attitudes toward women, ‘Newsweek’ reported. The men who admitted to an intention to rape only if it’s described as an intention to use force tended to have callous sexual attitudes, described in the study as viewpoints that objectify women and expect men to exhibit sexual dominance.
Those people that do say that they might use force to have sex with someone, but they wouldn’t call it rape, they seem to exhibit high levels of callous sexual attitudes and almost the opposite of hostility, said Edwards. Researchers said this group appears to be hyper-masculine; in other words, they might think that acting sexually aggressively is the right way for a man to act. Edwards cautioned that this research is preliminary, because the sample group is very small: 86 men participated in the study, but only 73 were analysed due to missing data.
Also more than 90 per cent of the participants were white and all described themselves as heterosexual, so the study has demographic limitations. Last year, the Obama administration had launched It’s On Us, a campaign aimed at combating sexual assault on college campuses in the US. The movement, developed from recommendations issued by a White House-ordered task force, seeks to raise awareness and educate college students about the issue.
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