Hammond, Laura, Ioannou, Maria and Fewster, Martha (2016) Perceptions of male rape and sexual assault in a male sample from the United Kingdom: Barriers to reporting and the impacts of victimization. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling. ISSN 1544-4759

The present study explored the prevalence of myths about male sexual assault, assault by penetration, and rape in a male general population sample (N = 98; mean age = 26.17 years), with the aim of determining potential barriers to the reporting of incidents of male sexual victimization and reasons for reluctance to report. In addition, the impacts of prior experience of male sexual victimization, both direct and indirect, on rape and sexual assault myth acceptance and on attitudes to reporting were evaluated. Participants completed an online survey indicating their levels of agreement with a range of statements reflecting different rape and sexual assault myths identified within the previous literature. Overall, there were high levels of disagreement (>90%) with the majority of the statements. The only items generating higher agreement ratings were those suggesting that the police are unlikely to take male sexual victimization seriously and—where the offence in question was sexual assault or assault by penetration and the perpetrator female—that men should be able to defend themselves against such crimes. Those without any prior experience of male sexual victimization tended to disagree more with the rape myths than those with previous experience. When asked whether they would report these offences if they were to happen to them, participants said that they were more likely to report each of the types of offences when the perpetrator was male than when they were female. Potential implications of the findings, for male sex offence investigations and for the criminal justice system more generally, are discussed.

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