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Sex-Role Attitude Change and Reporting of Rape Victimization, 1973-1985

James D. Orcutt and Rebecca Faison
The Sociological Quarterly
Vol. 29, No. 4, Gender and Aging (Winter, 1988), pp. 589-604
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Midwest Sociological Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4121098
Page Count: 16
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Sex-Role Attitude Change and Reporting of Rape Victimization, 1973-1985
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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between sex-role attitude change and female victims' reports of rape incidents to police in an analysis of time-series data from national attitude surveys of college freshmen and adults, and from annual victimization surveys. Declining support for traditional sex-role attitudes among both college women and men is strongly related to an increase in the proportion of rapes by nonstranger assailants that were reported to police from 1973 to 1985. However, victims' reports of rapes by strangers are more closely related to offenders' use of weapons during sexual assaults. These findings and other evidence against alternative explanations suggest that the cultural bases for "rape myths" have eroded during the 1970s and 1980s, and that broader definitions of rape have contributed to increased reporting of certain forms of sexual assault to police.

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