Intro to Women's Studies 2010

etsu: 2011-2014

Myths About Violence

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I sometimes find myself thinking about and believing in a couple of the social myths involving rape that were mentioned in chapter 10.  The main one that I catch myself thinking is “well, she probably did something to deserve it like dressing slutty or leading him on.”  I know this is not true, but I instantly think it anyways.  I have to stop and make myself realize that this is not usually the case.  I have to put myself in a situation like that and say, “By dressing this way, am I really ‘asking for it’?”

I think that these myths could be a direct result from people’s laziness to actually think about things.  In social psychology, we have been talking about how humans like to conserve their mental energy, so most of the time we use our unconscious automatic thinking processes.  Our automatic thinking process is made up of many heuristics, or mental shortcuts, about everything in our world.  A lot of the time, the beliefs associated with our heuristics are false ideas that we have come to believe are facts, either because we have heard them so many times or they just seem to be true.  I think that these myths surrounding rape victims have become popular heuristics about rape victims’ situations, when in reality, we have no idea about the victims’ situations.  If we would just step back and think for a minute (using our conscious controlled thinking), we would realize that these are just myths and they do not pertain to the majority of rape victims.  The perpetuation of these myths, I believe, is caused by our natural psychological processes mixed with the common beliefs of our culture.  If we all realize this, however, we can overcome these myths.

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