Feminist rape education: Does It Work?

Mary Margaret Fonow, Laurel Richardson, Virginia A. Wemmerus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


The purpose of this research report is twofold: First, we analyze a complex of attitudes about rape myths, adversarial sexual beliefs, and gender-role conservatism; and second, we evaluate the impact of rape-education intervention strategies on American college students' attitudes. Using the Solomon four-group design, we randomly assigned 14 classes of Sociology 101 students (total N = 582) to three different treatment conditions: a live rape-education workshop, a video of the workshop, and a control group. We found significant gender differences in students' attitudes on all the scales, with women being more knowledgeable about rape, less likely to blame the victim, and less accepting of adversarial sexual beliefs and gender-role conservatism. Most important, we found that within the limits of the study, rape-education intervention works in changing some attitudes about rape for both men and women students. We examine the impact of the different educational strategies and explore curricular implications, including the need to teach about rape within a feminist context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-121
Number of pages14
JournalGender & Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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