1 in 3 College Men Would Commit Rape If They Could Get Away With It


The results of a new study startlingly reveals that 1 in 3 college males admitted that they would engage in the rape of a woman if they were be able to do so and not get caught.

The study, Denying Rape but Endorsing Forceful Intercourse: Exploring Differences Among Responders, was recently published in the journal Violence and Gender and adds further fuel the fire under the national conversation about rape on college campuses.

According to the study, 31.7% of those surveyed said that they would act on “intentions to force a women to sexual intercourse” if there was a way to do so without getting caught. 13.6% of college males surveyed are said to have actual “intentions to rape a woman” barring any consequences.

Interestingly enough, fewer of the men involved in the study would admit to this if the question were posed with the actual word rape involved. Researchers said that they defined rape for their participants as “intercourse by use of force against a victim’s wishes.”

This says that a rather high percentage of these male college students have a different way of viewing what actually constitutes rape.

The researchers were careful to take note of the attitudes displayed by each male student surveyed when it came to their view on sex and women. It was found that males who admitted to their intent to “rape” presented with “resentment, bitterness, rejection sensitivity and paranoia about women’s motives”. The males who answered to the questions using alternate verbiage to describe rape were noted to have displayed “callous sexual attitudes” without any apparent hostility towards women.

“Given that callous sexual attitudes permit violence and consider women as passive sexual objects, it follows that for men who endorse these, sexual aggression becomes an appropriate and accepted expression of masculinity. In this sense, using force to obtain intercourse does not become an act of rape, but rather an expression of hypermasculinity, which may be thought of as a desirable disposition in certain subcultures,” said the study.

It is important to note that the research team only surveyed 86 male college students, who were mostly Caucasian and juniors from a single college. The polling pool was small and not incredibly diverse, but that shouldn’t negate the results and the implications behind them.

Sarah R. Edwards, assistant professor of counseling psychology at the University of North Dakota and author of the study, told Newsweek “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,” when referring to the limited scale of the initial study. The hope is to take the study and widen the net with a broader demographic and more participants.

David Lisak, psychologist and law enforcement trainer, has positive opinions on the study, which is something to take note of as he is well known for his own research on the epidemic of sexual violence. Lisak is the force behind the 2002 study shedding light on the high rates of on campus rapes being committed by repeat offenders.

He told Newsweek, “When you assess male college students, you will find some very, very troubling attitudes and beliefs. Regardless of whether or not these contribute directly to sexual coercion…challenging them and addressing them educating students about them in absolutely critical.”

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