Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Legacy Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)




College of Science

First Advisor

Elizabeth Barr


Sexual assault is one of the fastest growing crimes (USDOJ, 2001) and therefore the study of attitudes toward victims of rape is becoming increasingly important. This non-experimental study was designed to examine attitudes and stereotypes toward victims of sexual assault as a function of gender and prior victimization. The Attitudes Toward Rape Victim Scale (ARVS) was used to examine attitudes and empathy levels of subjects, while the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (RMAS) was used to examine the level of acceptance of stereotypes surrounding rape and rape victims. It was hypothesized that males would score higher than females on both the ARVS and the RMAS. It was further hypothesized that victims would score lower than non-victims on the ARVS, but higher than non-victims on the RMAS. Results of independent t tests revealed that males scored significantly higher than females on the ARVS and the RMAS, indicating lower empathy levels, more negative attitudes toward victims and a higher acceptance of rape myths. Victims scored higher than non-victims on the ARVS and lower than non-victims on the RMAS, but these results were not statistically significant. Other results were calculated to further examine gender and victim groups. Further research should be conducted with larger sample sizes. Implications of this study include gaining a better understanding of attitudes toward victims and perhaps creating more effective awareness and educational seminars about sexual assault.