Rape Myth Acceptance: Gender and Cross-National Comparisons Across the United States, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria

Sunday B. Fakunmoju, Tina Abrefa-Gyan, Ntandoyenkosi Maphosa, Priscilla Gutura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Many studies indicate that rape-supportive beliefs persist and influence sexually aggressive behaviors and hostility toward women. Despite the plethora of studies, cross-cultural knowledge remains sparse. The present study examined rape myth acceptance across gender and countries (i.e., United States, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria). An online questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 699 respondents in the four countries. Results suggested that respondents in Nigeria were the most likely and respondents in United States were the least likely to endorse rape myths. Respondents in South Africa were less likely than respondents in Ghana to endorse the myth that the female victim of rape “asked for it” and that the male perpetrator “didn’t mean to” rape the female victim. Although men were more likely than women to endorse rape myths, female respondents in Nigeria endorsed the myths “she asked for it” and “he didn’t mean to” more than did male respondents in Nigeria. In general, exposure to various patriarchal structures and ideologies; differences in preventive, protective, and punitive policy responses to gender-based violence; repressive cultural and religious practices; reinforcement of demeaning stereotypes against women; and psychological assimilation of oppressive policy, values and beliefs may be responsible for cross-national differences. Cross-country differences in rape myths suggest the need for formal and informal intervention in vulnerable countries. International transfer of effective policies and programs for combating gender-based violence in protective countries might lead to considerable changes in vulnerable countries and help to shift the focus from patriarchal to egalitarian views of women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-38
Number of pages21
JournalSexuality and Culture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Gender-based violence
  • Patriarchy
  • Rape
  • Rape myth acceptance
  • Violence against women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies


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