A mediation Model of Sexual Assault in a Conservative Culture


Analise Barker

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

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Faculty Mentor

Renee Galliher


According to the National Crime Victimization Survey (2012), someone is sexually assaulted every two minutes. In a look at the current issues through a mediation model, the socialization that occurs within many conservative Christian contexts may facilitate the development of attitudes and beliefs that can affect women negatively. Patriarchal community structure and rigid gender role adherence place women in subordinate roles and maintain gender inequality. Within conservative, dogmatic contexts, comprehensive sex education and education about assault and abuse may be minimal, and rape myths are hypothesized to be more prevalent. In conservative environments, abstinence only sex education may leave young people unprepared to manage sexual interactions and engage in effective sexual communication. Not having the basic knowledge of sexual relations may leave women susceptible to unwanted sexual experiences. Recently, a local religious leader made public statements consistent with common rape mythology, which has raised concerns from professionals in the counseling profession regarding the messages young women are receiving from their religious leaders (Hatch, 2014). In the current study, acceptance of rape mythology and sexist beliefs were hypothesized to serve as a mediating pathway between dogmatic, religiously fundamentalist beliefs and experiences of sexual coercion and assault (both victimization and perpetration). Participants are male female students attending USU. Measures administered via an online survey include: The Sexual Experiences Survey, Religious Fundamentalism Scale, Attitudes Toward Women Scale, Ambivalent Sexism Survey, and the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Survey, as well as open ended questions addressing sexuality education experiences. Planned multiple regression analyses will assess links between endorsement of traditional gender roles and religiously fundamentalist beliefs, and both perpetration (males) and victimization (females) of unwanted sexual experiences, with endorsement of rape mythology and sexism posited as mediating variables.

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