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Attitudes Toward Wife Rape: Effects of Social Background and Victim Status

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The current literature on wife rape is minimal compared to the published research in areas such as wife battering or date rape, and most of the existent work on attitudes toward wife rape is dated and/or focuses on limited samples (i.e., college populations). Using data from a nationally representative telephone survey, this study examined national attitudes toward wife rape using the following measures: perceptions of the occurrence of wife rape, perceptions of the frequency of wife rape, and perceptions of three rape scenarios. Respondent sex, education, age, race, and female victim status were predictors. Findings reveal that older, non-white respondents were less likely to believe wife rape occurs. Males and the more educated were less likely to believe it occurs frequently. Older and less educated respondents were less likely to believe forced sex scenarios between a husband and wife constitute wife rape. Among women, non-victims of forced sex were significantly less likely than current victims to believe that wife rape occurs.
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Keywords: ABUSE; DOMESTIC VIOLENCE; INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE; RAPE; SEXUAL ABUSE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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