. What to Do If You Are Raped
them into the false assumption that it could not happen to them or someone close to them because they would not act like “those other women.” If we believe bad things happen to people who take risks, then we are safe if we do not take those risks. In the majority of rapes, however, women are not engaging in risky behavior. College students often report that the victim precipitation theory explains date-rape cases better than stranger-rape cases (Cowan, 2000).
In Susan Brownmiller’s (1975) classic work on gender and rape, she argues that rape forces a woman to stay in at night, to monitor her behavior, and to look to men for protection. This attitude also contributes to a rape victim’s guilt because she then wonders: “If I hadn’t worn what I did, walked where I walked, or acted as I did, maybe I wouldn’t have been raped.” Overall, men are more likely than women to believe in the victim precipitation theory and to view sexual coercion as acceptable (Auster & Leone, 2001; Proto-Campise et al., 1998).