Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance (IRMA) Scale

The Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance (IRMA) Scale contains 45-items that asks respondents to rate their level of agreement when considering statements about women and sexual assault. Items were categorized into the following seven subscales: she asked for it (SA), it wasn't really rape (NR), he didn't mean to (MT), she wanted it (WI), she lied (LI), rape is a trivial event (TE), and rape is a deviant event (DE). A short form of the IRMA scale has also been developed and can be viewed here.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


1. (SA-3) If a woman is raped while she is drunk, she is at least somewhat responsible for letting things get out of control
2. (WI-5) Although most women wouldn’t admit it, they generally find being physically forced into sex a real ‘‘turn-on”
3. (MT-3) When men rape, it is because of their strong desire for sex
4. (TE-5) If a woman is willing to ‘‘make out’’ with a guy, then it’s no big deal if he goes a little further and has sex
5. (LI-4 ) Women who are caught having an illicit affair sometimes claim that it was rape
6. (FI-1*) Newspapers should not release the name of a rape victim to the public
7. (LI-3) Many so-called rape victims are actually women who had sex and ‘‘changed their minds’’ afterwards
8. (WI-1) Many women secretly desire to be raped
9. (DE-5) Rape mainly occurs on the ‘‘bad’’ side of town
10. (DE-4) Usually, it is only women who do things like hang out in bars and sleep around that are raped
11. (FI-2*) Most rapists are not caught by the police
12. (NR-1) If a woman doesn’t physically fight back, you can’t really say that it was rape
13. (DE-2) Men from nice middle-class homes almost never rape
14. (TE-1) Rape isn’t as big a problem as some feminists would like people to think
15. (SA-2) When women go around wearing low-cut tops or short skirts, they’re just asking for trouble
16. (LI-2) Rape accusations are often used as a way of getting back at men
17. (NR-5) A rape probably didn’t happen if the woman has no bruises or marks
18. (WI-4) Many women find being forced to have sex very arousing
19. (SA-4) If a woman goes home with a man she doesn’t know, it is her own fault if she is raped
20. (MT-5) Rapists are usually sexually frustrated individuals
21. (FI-3*) All women should have access to self-defense classes
22. (DE-3) It is usually only women who dress suggestively that are raped
23. (WI-2) Some women prefer to have sex forced on them so they don’t have to feel guilty about it
24. (NR-3) If the rapist doesn’t have a weapon, you really can’t call it a rape
25. (SA-6) When a woman is a sexual tease, eventually she is going to get into trouble
26. (TE-3) Being raped isn’t as bad as being mugged and beaten
27. (DE-7) Rape is unlikely to happen in the woman’s own familiar neighborhood
28. (DE-1) In reality, women are almost never raped by their boyfriends
29. (TE-2) Women tend to exaggerate how much rape affects them
30. (MT-2) When a man is very sexually aroused, he may not even realize that the woman is resisting
31. (LI-1) A lot of women lead a man on and then they cry rape
32. (FI-4*) It is preferable that a female police officer conduct the questioning when a woman reports a rape
33. (LI-5) A lot of times, women who claim they were raped just have emotional problems
34. (NR-2) If a woman doesn’t physically resist sex—even when protesting verbally—it really can’t be considered rape
35. (DE-6) Rape almost never happens in the woman’s own home
36. (SA-5) A woman who ‘‘teases’’ men deserves anything that might happen
37. (SA-8) When women are raped, it’s often because the way they said ‘‘no’’ was ambiguous
38. (TE-4) If a woman isn’t a virgin, then it shouldn’t be a big deal if her date forces her to have sex
39. (MT-1)Men don’t usually intend to force sex on a woman, but sometimes they get too sexually carried away
40. (FI-5*) This society should devote more effort to preventing rape
41. (SA-1) A woman who dresses in skimpy clothes should not be surprised if a man tries to force her to have sex
42. (MT-4) Rape happens when a man’s sex drive gets out of control
43. (SA-7) A woman who goes to the home or apartment of a man on the first date is implying that she wants to have sex
44. (WI-3) Many women actually enjoy sex after the guy uses a little force
45. (NR-4) If a woman claims to have been raped but has no bruises or scrapes, she probably shouldn’t be taken too seriously

*FI=Filler Item. These ‘‘filler items’’ are included to minimize the potential for response bias and are therefore discarded before conducting any statistical analysis. They do not contribute to the total scale value.

Response options:
Respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement using a 7-point Likert scale ranging from 1 = "not at all agree" to 7 = "very much agree.”
Scores to the Filler Items are not counted towards to total scale value.

Scoring Procedures

Not Available

Original Citation

Payne, D. L., Lonsway, K. A., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1999). Rape Myth Acceptance: Exploration of Its Structure and Its Measurement Using the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. Journal of Research in Personality, 33(1), 27-68.

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