Although prison rape has been recognised for years, it began to receive increased attention in the USA following the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). In addition to prevalence and victimisation estimates, several researchers have examined the attitudes of correctional personnel towards prison rape. However, few have surveyed the opinions of those not currently working in the criminal justice system. Drawing from the body of research on rape myths, our goal was to examine prison rape myth acceptance among a university student sample to describe these beliefs, as well as examine attitudinal correlates. The findings indicated that prison rape-supportive beliefs were evident among a minority of the sample and were predicted by general punitiveness and male and female rape myth acceptance. The acceptance of victim-blaming myths identified in this study warrants further investigation. It is possible that educational efforts would be successful in reducing these rape-supportive beliefs.
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Routledge in Journal of Sexual Aggression: An International, Interdisciplinary Forum for Research, Theory and Practice in 2015, available online at: 10.1080/13552600.2013.820851
King, Laura L. and Hanrahan, Kathleen J.. (2015). "University Student Beliefs About Sexual Violence in Prison: Rape Myth Acceptance, Punitiveness, and Empathy". Journal of Sexual Aggression: An International, Interdisciplinary Forum for Research, Theory and Practice, 21(2), 179-193. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2013.820851