Date of Award

Winter 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Danica Hays

Committee Member

Tim Grothaus

Committee Member

Laurie Craigen


In 2007, 248,300 individuals were raped (National Crime Victimization Survey [NCVS], 2007). It is likely that counseling professionals will provide services to rape survivors, and they should be aware of their biases towards survivors so that they can provide the most competent care possible. Some biases and attitudes may stem from the acceptance of rape myths. Rape myth acceptance (RMA) can lead to blaming the survivor for an attack (Campbell & Raja, 1999) and other consequences, including the exacerbation of psychological and physical symptoms (Campbell, Ahrens, Sefl, Wasco, & Barnes, 2001). Furthermore, a lack of rape empathy may inflict injury upon a survivor. The purpose of this quantitative study was to obtain baseline levels of RMA and rape empathy towards survivors among counseling professionals and trainees. The relationship between RMA and rape empathy was also studied, as well as the impact of rape empathy and demographic variables on predicting levels of RMA. No significant differences were found between professionals' and trainees' levels of RMA and rape empathy. A statistically significant correlation was found between rape empathy and female RMA. Male and female RMA were also significantly related. Sexual orientation was found to be a statistically significant predictor of female RMA.