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White Male Privilege in the Perpetration of Sexual Violence: An Exploratory Study of Young Adults

Emily E Camp, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This exploratory study examined how racism and sexism among privileged White men intersect and vary to influence factors associated with sexual violence (SV) perpetration. Specifically, this study examined the interconnection of racism and sexism via latent profile analysis (LPA), how profile groups differentially predict attitudinal responses to a victim in an acquaintance rape SV vignette regarding victim blame and rape minimization (e.g., rape myth acceptance), rape proclivity, and bystander intentions to help, and whether or not these attitudes change based on the victim’s race (i.e., White or Black). The sample included 628 young adult, White, heterosexual, cis-gender men currently living in the United States. Results indicated that three profiles of racist and sexist attitudes (e.g., ambivalent, low racism/sexism, and high racism/sexism groups) emerged for the sample and differentially predicted responses to the acquaintance rape vignette regarding victim blame, rape minimization, rape proclivity, and bystander intentions. Individuals with profiles high in racism and sexism were more likely to endorse higher victim blame, rape minimization, rape proclivity, and lower bystander intentions than individuals with profiles low in racism and sexism. Individuals in the ambivalent group reported similar levels of rape minimization as the high racism/sexism group, though they reported lower levels of rape proclivity, victim blame, and bystander intentions to help. These relationships between profiles and outcomes were not moderated by the victim race. In other words, participants did not respond to Black victims with more victim blame, rape minimization, rape proclivity and less bystander intentions than White victims. Implications for advancing our understanding of how to better prevent sexual violence and intervene in its effects are discussed as it relates to future research, theory, practice and policy.

Subject Area

Psychology|Social psychology|Sexuality|American studies

Recommended Citation

Camp, Emily E, "White Male Privilege in the Perpetration of Sexual Violence: An Exploratory Study of Young Adults" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI31139928.