An exploratory study on the beliefs about gender-based violence held by incoming undergraduates in England

Rachel Fenton, Cassandra Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
549 Downloads (Pure)


A growing body of research indicates that gender-based violence is a public health problem for UK universities. To date, there is a paucity of knowledge about beliefs regarding gender-based violence among UK university students and how receptive they are to help change university culture by participating in prevention programmes. This article uses findings from the first cross-sectional study in England that measured beliefs, including rape and domestic violence and abuse (DVA) myth acceptance, and readiness for change. A survey was given to 381 incoming undergraduate students attending a university in the South West of England. The findings suggest that men endorse rape and DVA myths more than women. Rape myths were associated with DVA myths and further analyses indicated that the subscales He didn't mean to and It wasn't really rape predicted DVA myths. Denial of the problem of sexual violence and DVA was predicted by myth endorsement but assuming responsibility for change was not. These findings provide insight into the particular myths held by incoming undergraduates and how they operate together to scaffold gender-based violence in university settings. Rape and DVA myths need to be targeted in the development of effective prevention programmes in English Universities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Gender-Based Violence
Issue number2
Early online date1 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • bystander intervention
  • domestic violence myths
  • prevention
  • rape myths
  • students
  • universities


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