Attitudes toward Rape Victim Scale (ARVS)

The Attitudes Toward Rape Victims Scale (ARVS) is a 25-item measure of attitudes toward female rape victims (as opposed to rape in general) with a focus on victim blame, credibility, deservingness, denigration, and trivialization. Developed as a cross-cultural measure, the ARVS items assess perceptions of the sexual desirability of rape victims, the culpability of victims (e.g., due to dress, drinking, going out at night etc.), rape myths/misconceptions, and the justification and validity of rape claims.


Geographies Tested: Singapore,United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


1. A raped woman is a less desirable woman.
2. The extent of a woman's resistance should be the major factor in determine whether a rape has occurred.
3. A raped woman is usually an innocent victim.*
4. Women often claim rape to protect their reputations.
5. "Good" girls are as likely to be raped as "bad" girls.*
6. Women who have had prior sexual relationships should not complain about rape.
7. Women do not provoke rape by their appearance or behavior.*
8. Intoxicated women are usually willing to have sexual relations.
9. It would do some women good to be raped.
10. Even women who feel guilty about premarital sex are not likely to falsely claim rape.*
11. Most women secretly desire to be raped.
12. Any female may be raped.*
13. Women who are raped while accepting rides from strangers get what they deserve.
14. Many women invent rape stories if they learn they are pregnant.
15. Men, not women, are responsible for rape.*
16. A woman who goes out alone at night puts herself in a position to be raped.
17. Many women claim rape if they have consented to sexual relations but have changed their minds afterwards.
18. Accusations of rape by bar girls, dance hostesses and prostitutes should be viewed with suspicion.
19. A woman should not blame herself for rape.*
20. A healthy woman can successfully resist a rape if she really tries.
21. Many women who report rape are lying because they are angry or want revenge on the accused.
22. Women who wear short skirts or tight blouses are not inviting rape.*
23. Women put themselves in situations in which they are likely to be sexually assaulted because they have an unconscious wish to be raped.
24. Sexually experienced women are not damaged by rape.
25. In most cases when a woman was raped, she deserved it.

Response Options:
Disagree strongly - 0
Disagree mildly - 1
Neutral (neither agree nor disagree) - 2
Agree mildly - 3
Agree strongly - 4

*These items are reverse scored

Scoring Procedures

Items were summed to create a total scale score with score values ranging from 0 (most favorable attitudes towards rape victims) to 100 (most unfavorable attitudes towards rape victims).

Original Citation

Ward, C. (1988). The Attitudes Toward Rape Victims Scale: Construction, Validation, and Cross-Cultural Applicability. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 12, 127-146. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6402.1988.tb00932.x

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Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








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