alexa ‘‘If a Girl Doesn’t Say ‘no’. . .’’: Young Men,Rape and Claims of ‘Insufficient Knowledge’


Journal of Depression and Anxiety


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Most psychological theories of rape tend to stress factors internal to both rapists and their victims inaccounting for the phenomenon. Unlike such theories, social psychological and feminist accountshave drawn attention to social and cultural factors as productive of rape, and have criticizedpsychological accounts on the grounds that they often serve, paradoxically, to cement pre-existing‘common-sense’. In this paper we examine the ways in which young Australian men draw uponwidely culturally shared accounts, or interpretative repertoires, of rape to exculpate rapists. Inparticular, we discuss the reliance placed on a ‘lay’ version of Tannen’s (1992) ‘miscommunicationmodel’ of (acquaintance) rape and detail the use of this account—the claim that rape is aconsequence of men’s ‘not knowing’—as a device to accomplish exculpation. Implications ofour methods for capturing young people’s understanding of sexual coercion, rape and consent, andfor the design of ‘rape prevention’ programmes, are discussed. Copyright # 2007 John Wiley &Sons, Ltd.

This article was published in Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology and referenced in Journal of Depression and Anxiety

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