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Indian J Psychiatry. 2017 Jan-Mar;59(1):77-82. doi: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_78_16.

Rape: Is it a lifestyle or behavioral problem?

Author information

District Child Survival Officer, UNICEF, Valsad, Gujarat, India.
Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Surat, Gujarat, India.
Department of Community Medicine, Medical College Baroda, Vadodara, Gujarat, India.
SMO (NPSP), Deoria, Uttar Pradesh, India.



In India, girl is raped every 20 min. The majority of reports reveals youth is vulnerable group for rape victimization. A set of prejudicial, stereotyped, or false beliefs about rape, rape victims, and rapist exist in the community.


To study the attitude and myths toward rape among college going students of Surat City.


College students of various streams were participated in the study based on attitude toward rape scale (21 items) and updated Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (22 items). A total of 332 participants from three different colleges of the city took part in the survey. Data analysis was done with the SPSS version 19.


Among the responders, 61.75% were female. Mean age of participants was 20.22 ± 1.27 years. Almost two-third (73%) of female participants and 42% of the male participants disagreed with the myth that "When a woman says 'no' she really means 'yes'." Around 30% of the participants were uncertain about the myth that "A woman cannot be raped by someone she previously knew or had sex with." While almost 35% of participants believed that "Most rapes are carried out by strangers." Strong sexual desire of guys, drunkenness, and girl's clothes were reported to be factors that provoke rape by 50%, 40%, and 33% of respondents, respectively, around 95% of female and 92% of male participants think that 7-year imprisonment for rape is not enough.


Rape myths are found to be highly prevalent among youth and higher among males.


India; rape; rape myths; youth

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