The article discusses a study that was conducted to find out the public’s view on rape. Specifically, this study “investigates the relationship of RMA with demographic variables, intolerant belief systems, and ideological attitudes in a representative sample of German residents,” (Süssenbach and Bohner, 2011, p. 377). RMA stands for rape myths acceptance. According to Süssenbach and Bohner, RMA “serves as an interpretative schema for dealing with information about sexual violence, yielding judgments that are biased against victims, and in favor of perpetrators,” (2011, p. 374). The study was designed to assess the acceptance of rape myths.
One issue, specifically for women, is that rape myth acceptance creates an “illusion of invulnerability.” For males, it tends to increase the chances of sexually violent behavior directly and indirectly. According to this study, “rape myths have been conceptualized as stereotypes [Lonsway and Fitzgerald, 1994] resulting in intolerance toward female victims of sexual violence,” (Süssenbach and Bohner, 2011, p. 374). If this theory is correct, RMA is a myth that negatively affects society.
The researchers had a professional survey institute, in 2010; conduct standardized telephone interviews to German households. In order to enhance representativeness, they included all possible telephone numbers; even unlisted numbers, by using a number generation method and 4.8 percent of the participants were reached via cellphone. There were 397 adult participants ranging from ages 16 to 90. Within that sample, the majority of them lived in West Germany and covered all levels of education and occupations.
The researchers studied eleven intolerant belief systems by using a four-point response scale with the option of selecting “don’t know” or simply not answering that item. The intolerant belief systems included were blatant ethnic prejudice, subtle ethnic prejudice, xenophobia, Islamo- phobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, sexism, as well as, the devaluation of newcomers, homeless, unemployed, and disabled people. Since sexism seemed to be the most relevant, there was a separate survey conducted, involving twelve items instead of two or three. According to the researchers, the twelve-item scale was used to address both benevolent attitudes toward women who adhere to traditional gender roles and hostile attitudes toward successful workingwomen with children (Süssenbach and Bohner, 2011, p. 378).
They also asked the participants to complete a German nine-item short version of the AMMSA scale. The Acceptance of Modern Myths About Sexual Aggression (AMMSA) scale measures rape-related beliefs by using subtler item content than other RMA measures. One of the items asked was, “women often accuse their husbands of marital rape just to retaliate for a failed relationship.” Most of the items were taken from prior studies and were selected based on the content and the item-total-correlations from the original...