Attitudes About Date Rape: Context and Consent
Sexual assault, and date rape specifically, is a prevalent problem among college students. Many factors influence students’ attitudes about these situations such as the closeness of the relationship and alcohol consumed at the time of the incident. These same factors similarly influence attitudes about reporting an assault. The development of mobile proximity-based dating applications (dating apps) has added a new, and largely under-researched, factor of influence to attitudes about perceptions of sexual consent. The current study used vignettes to examine college students’ perceptions of sexual consent and attitudes about reporting in a date rape scenario. The vignettes varied to explore the influence of alcohol use and meeting with a dating app on these outcome variables. Other information was gathered, such as demographics, sexual assault history, and rape myth acceptance. These individual differences will also be investigated in statistical analysis. It was found that 28.9% of women were sexually assaulted at some point in their life, 53.8% of which were revictimized. When age brackets were separated, 22.2% of women reported they were sexually assaulted since turning 18. Men were found to be more accepting of rape myths than women; men were also more likely to perceive consent in response to the date rape vignette than women. Acceptance of rape myths was found to be positively related to perceptions of consent in response to the date rape vignette. Alcohol consumption in the vignette was found to significantly influence perceptions of rape in response to the vignette; rape was perceived more when Penny was drunk than when she was sober. While these results are important to consider, the numerical differences were too small to be considered clinically significant. More research is needed to fully understand the role of dating apps in the modern world, and future research is suggested to investigate video vignettes to better address the nuances of interpersonal interactions.