The Sociocultural Context of African American and White American Women's Rape

Authors

  • Gail Elizabeth Wyatt

    Corresponding author
    1. University of California, Los Angeles
      Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
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      GAIL ELIZABETH WYATT is Professor of Medical Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, a Research Scientist Development Awardee, a certified sex therapist, and a diplomate of the American Board of Sexology. Her research examines sociocultural factors influencing sexual decision making that affect psychological and sexual functioning, and she is currently conducting cross-cultural research identifying barriers to sexual behavior change.


Neuropsychiatric Institute, UCLA, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

Abstract

This paper examines historical factors related to African American women's rape and their disclosure patterns. It compares similarities and differences in incidents of attempted or completed rape in a community sample of 55 African American and White women. The possibility that African American women may not perceive themselves as rape victims or their experiences as meeting the criteria of “real rape” has implications for the disclosure of incidents, as well as the initial and lasting effects of sexual victimization. Researchers are urged to include ethnicity as a factor contributing to women's self-perceptions as rape survivors.

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