Degree Name

DrPH (Doctor of Public Health)


Public Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Deborah L. Slawson

Committee Members

Robert Pack, Megan A. Quinn


Sexual violence is sometimes considered a taboo topic for discussion, but it gained widespread attention in the media in late 2017 due to the social movements addressing the sexual assault of women. However, sexual violence perpetrated against men lacks publicity in America, and highlights a similar situation in the Armed Forces. A discussion of sexually violent acts committed against men is sometimes impeded by cultural norms. This discrepancy associated with civilian and military communities inspired this exploratory study.

A convenience sample of 520 former American military professionals completed an anonymous online survey to describe their attitudes and beliefs regarding rape myths. The survey included basic demographics followed by 20 questions with dichotomous responses addressing male and female rape myths, empathy, belief in a just world and gender attitudes. Responses to each question were analyzed, followed by composite scoring for rape myths, empathy and gender attitude questions. Bivariate correlation analysis was performed to examine significant relationships. Ordinal and bivariate logistic regressions were completed to predict adherence to male rape myths.

The exploratory nature of the survey provided a glimpse of veterans' views and indicated the majority, 317 (61.1%) of veterans did not adhere to any of the listed male rape myths, and 311 (59.6%) of veterans did not agree with the female rape myths. The ordinal logistic regression model predicted that empathy for male survivors and disagreement with some patriarchal gender attitudes were significantly associated with decreased acceptance of male rape myths in the sample of veterans. Significant predictors of male rape myths in the bivariate logistic regression model included increased empathy (Exp(B) = 6.373, CI [2.740, 14.822]), agreement with patriarchal gender attitudes (Exp(B) = 5.598, CI [2.059, 15.219]), and adherence to female rape myths (Exp(B) = 1.969, CI [.993, 3.904]).

These results emphasized popular misinformation, and the need for education and awareness surrounding rape myths. Strategic suggestions for the military community were aimed at prevention, education, and policy changes. Despite the challenging environment, the topic of sexual violence perpetrated against males is a relevant issue affecting humanity.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the author.