Study Shows High Acceptance Among Rhode Island Children of Rape
Nearly a quarter of the boys and one-sixth of the girls responding to a Rhode Island survey on rape said it was acceptable for a man to force a woman to have sex with him if he has spent money on her.
The National Symposium on Child Victimization, held last week in Anaheim, heard the results of the survey of 1,700 students in the sixth to ninth grades who attended the Rhode Island Rape Crisis Center’s assault awareness program in that state’s schools.
Of the children taking the survey, 20% of the girls and 6% of the boys said they had been sexually abused.
“I didn’t believe it,” Jacqueline Jackson Kikuchi, the center staff member who conducted the poll, said of the results.
Kikuchi said she was most surprised by the students’ answers on whether it would be acceptable for a man to rape a woman if he had dated her for a long time or spent money on her.
“Basically, the kids were very much into blaming the victim of the sexual assault,” she said.
Among the findings:
- 50% of the students said a woman who walks alone at night and dresses seductively is asking to be raped.
- 51% of the boys and 41% of the girls said a man has the right to force a woman to kiss him if he has spent “a lot of money” on her. The quantity of money was defined by 12-year-olds as $10 to $15.
- Among students in grades seven through nine, 24% of the boys and 16% of the girls said it was acceptable for a man to force a woman to have sex with him if he has spent money on her.
- 65% of the boys and 47% of the girls in grades seven through nine said it is acceptable for a man to force a woman to have sex if they have been dating for more than six months.
- 87% of the boys and 79% of the girls said rape is permissible if a couple are married.
- It would not be improper for a man to rape a woman who has had previous sexual experiences, according to 31% of the boys and 32% of the girls.
“So many of our kids have attitudes that sexual abuse is OK,” Kikuchi said.
The types of attitudes evidenced in the survey probably lead to date rape and other forms of sexual assault, she said.
Kikuchi conducted the survey from February to December, 1987, when she gave workshops to students at public and private schools in Rhode Island as coordinator of the center’s assault awareness program.
The workshops have changed some attitudes, she said: After them, fewer than 25% of the participants think rape or forced kissing is appropriate in any situation.