Criminal Justice Professor Set to Begin Funded Research on Rape Myths

Dr. John Navarro has been funded to research rape myth attitudes from the perspective of students who know victims of sexual violence.

Rape myth attitudes are viewpoints based upon false beliefs of rape, its offenders, and its victims. Navarro began studying these attitudes from various viewpoints when he realized that majority of the research on rape and sexual assault came from the perspective of white women. He wanted to compare the viewpoints and see why there is such a gender and racial divide when it comes to these myths. While it is necessary to acknowledge, believe, and support women who have experienced sexual assault and rape, there is still a large audience of victims who are being neglected. According to Navarro, previous research on male sexual assault victimization being underreported boils down to several factors, primarily being shame and lack of resources.

Navarro also wants to look at how rape myths are affected when it comes to various individuals knowing the victim. Historically, rape myths have had only one perspective and Navarro wants to explore rape myths from the viewpoint of various backgrounds. He believes that these viewpoints are important when discussing sexual assault and rape myth attitudes, saying, “An inclusive perspective on sexual violence that incorporates marginalized voices by giving representation to minority women and males can empower all parties through solidarity and yield productive conversations.”

Navarro’s research will be funded through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, here at Sam Houston. He will be funded through the New Faculty Program, which is dedicated to supporting incoming faculty member’s research. Navarro will conduct his study on University students to see the effect of knowing victims of sexual violence on rape myth attitudes towards males and females.

Dr. John Navarro, a first-year professor for Sam Houston’s Criminal Justice Department, wants to address some of the misconceptions about rape in his research and verify belief systems commonly held by the public. Along with the attitudes towards male rape myths, Navarro hopes to further break down his study into race and ethnicity stereotypes that also typically influence these myths.