Over a third of college men interviewed for a new study said that they would force a woman to have sex "if nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences."
Over 13 percent (13.6) said they would rape a woman under the same circumstances, said the study, which was published in the journal Violence and Gender.
For the study, the researchers interviewed 86 heterosexual, mostly white, males, over 18. The men filled out multiple questionaires that guaged their sexual attitudes and behaviors toward women. The students received extra credit for filling them out.
The study's aim was to dig beneath the label of "rapist" to see what young men's attitudes were toward forceful and coercive sexual behaviors.
"Behaviorally descriptive survey items (i.e., 'Have you ever coerced somebody to intercourse by holding them down?') versus labeling survey items (i.e., 'Have you ever raped somebody?') will yield different responses, in that more men will admit to sexually coercive behaviors and more women will self-report victimization when behavioral descriptions are used (Koss 1998) instead of labels. Indeed, some men will endorse items asking whether they have used force to obtain intercourse, but will deny having raped a woman," the study's authors wrote.
The responses to the surveys showed a difference between the men who had no ill intentions toward women and those who did: those who endorsed rape or descriptions of rape behavior felt very hostile and sexually dominant toward women.
"The two types of offender groups were distinguishable mostly by varying levels of hostility, suggesting that men who endorse using force to obtain intercourse on survey items but deny rape on the same may not experience hostile affect in response to women, but might have dispositions more in line with benevolent sexism," they wrote.
In light of recent reports of widespread rape on campus -- as many as one in five women report having been sexually assaulted in college -- the researchers wanted to investigate how potential rapists could be headed off at the pass.
What they concluded: "Our results suggest that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to sexual assault prevention."
"Men who are primarily motivated by negative, hostile affect toward women and who conceptualize their own intentions and behaviors as rape are unlikely to benefit from the large group primary prevention efforts done as part of college outreach efforts," they wrote.
There might be some hope, though, for the men who endorse the use of force, but don't see themselves as rapists, as long as the programs can avoid alienating them.
Hat tip: BuzzFeed