Rape myth attitudes in rural Kenya: toward the development of a culturally relevant attitude scale and "blame index"

J Interpers Violence. 2013 Jul;28(10):2156-78. doi: 10.1177/0886260512471086. Epub 2013 Jan 8.


Rape myth attitudes (RMAs) can excuse men for rape, placing blame on female victims. This study identified and classified RMAs in rural western Kenya through 31 focus group discussions with youths and adults. We found that about half of the participants were likely to blame victims unconditionally. Stereotypes about rape victims and perpetrators were rife. Five of seven standardly used RMA categories emerged spontaneously in focus groups, along with a new category: "she owed him." Based on the data, we developed a "blame index" to assess the likelihood of community victim blaming in Kenya. To reduce victim blaming and bring about more prosecutions for rape, community education, teacher training, and reforms of rape laws are highly recommended.

Keywords: Kenya; adolescent; attitudes; focus groups; health; rape; sexual violence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude / ethnology*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kenya
  • Male
  • Mythology / psychology*
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Social Responsibility*
  • Social Support
  • Young Adult