Asian and non-Asian attitudes toward rape, sexual harassment, and sexuality

The purpose of this study was to explore potential differences between Asian and non-Asian university students in attitudes toward coercive and noncoercive sexual behavior. Four hundred women and men (205 Asian, 195 non-Asian) were assessed on attitudes towards rape, sexual harassment, and general sexual behavior. Length of residency in Canada for Asian respondents was examined to determine whether "Westernization" might attenuate differences. Analysis revealed that Asian students were significantly more conservative in attitudes toward sexual behavior. Asian students were also more tolerant of rape myths and more accepting of sexual harassment. Asian respondents demonstrated a decrease in tolerance for rape myths and sexual harassment as length of residency in Canada increased. Women were less conservative than men from the same background on almost all items.
Author: 
Kennedy,M.Alexis
Gorzalka,Boris B.
Reprint Status: 
IN FILE
Start Page: 
227
End Page: 
238
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Sex Roles
Volume: 
46
Issue: 
7/8
Abstract: 
North American Asians demonstrate more conservative sexual attitudes and behaviors than other ethnic groups. Research findings examining the influence of Western culture upon Asian sexual attitudes are somewhat inconsistent. Also, previous studies have failed to investigate Asians' attitudes toward coercive sexual behaviors. The present study was designed to compare Asian and non-Asian attitudes toward both sexually coercive and noncoercive behaviors. Male and female undergraduate students (n = 205 Asian, n = 195 non-Asian) from a Canadian university volunteered to participate in the study in exchange for course credit. Participants completed a self-report questionnaire that measured attitudes toward coercive and noncoercive sexual behaviors. For attitudes on coercive sexual behaviors, 11 agree/disagree items from Burt's Rape Myth Acceptance Scale were used, as was the 19-item Sexual Harassment Attitude Scale. All items from both scales were presented in the text of the article. The Derogatis Sexual Functioning Inventory (30-items) was used to measure attitudes on noncoercive sexual behaviors. Results indicated that Asian students held more conservative sexual attitudes than non-Asian students. Asian students were also more tolerant of sexually harassing behaviors and rape myths than non-Asian students. Regardless of ethnicity, men were more tolerant of sexual harassment and rape myths than women. Though not as strong as the previous findings, the results did indicate that the longer a student had lived in Canada, the less tolerant of rape myths and sexual harassment he/she was. Overall, these results indicate that Asian students hold more conservative attitudes on noncoercive and coercive sexual behaviors. The generalizability of these results to diverse Asian ethnicities may be limited because 92% of the study participants identified themselves as Chinese.
Topic Areas: 
Harassment; myths/stereotypes; racial/ethnic differences
Reference Type: 
JOUR
Reference ID: 
1951
Publication Date: 
2002/April