Acquaintance rape: Effective avoidance strategies

Joyce Levine-Maccombie, Mary P. Koss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


To date, research on effective rape avoidance strategies has involved media-recruited, acknowledged rape victims and avoiders, most of whom were assaulted by total strangers. In the present study, rape avoidance research was extended to a sample of acquaintance rape victims and avoiders who were located by a self-report survey that identified women who both do and do not conceptualize their assaults as rape. The study's goal was to determine whether acknowledged rape victims, unacknowledged rape victims, and rape avoiders could be discriminated by situational variables including the response strategies used in the assault. Victims and avoiders were significantly discriminated. Compared to rape victims, avoiders (1) were less likely to have experienced passive or internalizing emotions at the time of the assault, (2) perceived the assault as less violent, and (3) were more likely to have utilized active response strategies (i.e., running away and screaming). The results suggest that the major findings of existing research on stranger rape avoidance are generalizable to acquaintance rape. However, concerns are expressed over methodological limitations of research on rape avoidance from the victim's perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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