A System Justification View of Sexual Violence: Legitimizing Gender Inequality and Reduced Moral Outrage Are Connected to Greater Rape Myth Acceptance

Kristine M. Chapleau, Debra L. Oswald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Rape is a pervasive social problem that causes serious physical and psychological repercussions. Rape victims' recovery is often complicated by the public's failure to believe the victim and restore justice. This study applied system justification theory to examine whether the justification of gender inequality is related to moral outrage (an emotional precursor to corrective action) and rape myth acceptance; we also examined whether rape myth acceptance is associated with moral outrage at injustice. Results showed that gender-specific system justification correlated with less moral outrage at human suffering as well as greater rape myth acceptance. The relationships between these variables were similar for men and for women, a finding that suggests that rape myths are system justifying for women. When we controlled for gender-specific system justification, rape myth acceptance correlated with less moral outrage. Results are discussed in the context of how legitimizing ideologies reduce moral outrage at injustice and perpetuate a system of sexual violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-218
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Trauma and Dissociation
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • gender-specific system justification
  • moral outrage
  • rape myth acceptance
  • sexual violence
  • system justification theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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