Improving understanding of rape proclivity
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The current dissertation included three studies that together aimed to improve understanding of rape proclivity as a potential construct related to sexual violence. In the first study, participants' understanding of the items on the Rape Proclivity Measure were assessed to gain insight into participants' perspectives about rape scenarios and to examine the content validity of the measure. Most participants (68.7% to 95.8%) did not view the wording of scenarios as ambiguous, and understood scenarios as incidents of sexual violence, indicating that the Rape Proclivity Measure is comprehensible and has good content validity. However, participants were more likely to label rape scenarios involving: (a) a stranger perpetrator, and (b) use of physical force, as incidents of rape, indicating that their definition of rape matches the rape scripts prevalent in North America. The second study examined the relationship between rape proclivity and various correlates of rape, namely deviant sexual interests, offence supportive cognition (both rape and antisocial), and history of past sexually aggressive behaviour. The aim was to identify the most relevant variables, and to evaluate whether rape proclivity forms a distinct construct or whether it overlaps substantially with one of these other constructs. There was a strong correlation between rape proclivity and correlates of rape. However, in a factor analyses, the various measures of rape proclivity did not form a distinct construct indicating that different measures of rape proclivity may not be assessing the same construct. Finally, the third study aimed to address the gap in the literature regarding the role of rape proclivity, assessed by rape proclivity measures, as a predictor of sexually aggressive behaviour. Results indicated that rape proclivity measured by Sexual Experience Survey-Tactics First Revised (SES-TFR) predicted future sexual violence, but the Rape Proclivity Measure did not. This means that rape proclivity may be a factor related to the perpetration of sexual offending, but care must be taken in the measures that are used. Once proclivity can be identified in a reliable and valid manner, it can be targeted in programs designed to prevent sexual violence.