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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136932 Find in a Library
Title: Is Rape a Cultural Universal? A Re-examination of the Ethnographic Data
Author(s): C Palmer
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 16
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Recent research has failed to settle the debate over whether rape is an inherent tendency of male biology or whether human sexual behavior, including rape, is an expression of cultural force. This issue concerns the role played by the social environment in the occurrence of rape and is a significant consideration in the development of appropriate rape prevention approaches.
Abstract: Previous research has identified several societies as being virtually rape-free. This study presents ethnographic data on 31 societies including, inter alia, the Mbuti, Siuai, Lesu, Aymara, Yap, Tewa, Jivaro, Outer Mongolia, and Mataco. This re-examination of ethnographic data coded in previous studies supports the view that rape is a behavior present in all societies despite efforts to restrain men from it. The hypothesis that rape is a learned behavior and only occurs when encouraged is discredited. However, the author notes that the results do not mean that rape cannot be eradicated through social change. The cross-cultural evidence on rape does suggest that social reform must retain those aspects of traditional culture that restrain men from raping, even if they seem patriarchal in the Western experience. 1 note and 91 references
Main Term(s): Cross-cultural comparisons; Rape causes
Index Term(s): Ethnomethodology; Rape prevention programs; Social Learning
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