Prevalence and Effects of Rape Myths in the Media: The Kobe Bryant Case

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news media, rape myths, sexual assault

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Two studies examine the prevalence and effects of rape myths in the print media covering a real-life case of alleged sexual assault. Study 1 was an archival study of 156 sources from around the country. Articles about the Kobe Bryant case were coded for instances of rape myths, among other variables. Of the articles, 65 mentioned at least one rape myth (with “she's lying” being the single most common myth perpetuated). Study 2 assessed participants' (N = 62) prior knowledge of the Bryant case and exposed them to a myth-endorsing or myth-challenging article about the case. Those exposed to the myth-endorsing article were more likely to believe that Bryant was not guilty and the alleged victim was lying. The implications for victim reporting and reducing sexual assault in general are discussed.

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Violence Against Women, v. 14, issue 3, p. 287-309