This review of the adult rape experience draws from theoretical conceptualizations in both psychology and victimology. It is an integrative discussion of Lerner's [Lerner, M.J. (1980). The Belief In A Just World. New York: Plenum] victimological theory of the “just world” and Gagnon and Simon's [Gagnon, J.H., & Simon, W. (1973). Sexual Conduct: The Sources of Human Sexuality. Chicago: Aldine] conceptualization of cognitive sex scripting. The “just world” is one in which an individual gets what he/she deserves. People will construe events and interpret the character of people to maintain this ideology. As theorized by Perloff [Perloff, L.S. (1983). Perceptions of vulnerability to victimisation. J Soc Issues 39, 41–61], this promotes a feeling of “unique invulnerability” in the absence of victimization. However, should victimization, such as rape, occur, this ideology can implicate detrimental effects of adjustment. This includes the “secondary victimization” from others, as theorized by Williams [Williams, J.E. (1984). Secondary victimisation: confronting public attitudes about rape. Victimol Int J 9, 66–81]. These victimological perspectives are cognitive scripts. They develop over time from exposure to family dynamics, sociocultural tenets describing gender roles and sexual conduct, and from an individual's parameters and dimensions of sexual individuality and disposition. How these victimological scripts may impact on the adjustment of adult raped men and women is discussed.
Available online 11 June 2001.
Field of Research
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology