The Rape Attitudes and Beliefs Scale (RABS) is a 50-item measure of attitude towards rape among men, consisting of five key factors: justifications for sexual aggression based on women’s behavior, belief that women should hold more responsibility for sexual assault, peer pressure/need for sexual status and misreading women’s sexual intent, acceptance of the use of alcohol and coercive tactics to acquire sexual compliance, and dislike for the feminine and acceptance of traditional gender roles.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


  1. If a man and a woman are engaged in consensual sexual activity, but the woman says she does not want to have intercourse, it is okay for the man to ignore this and go ahead, especially if he uses a condom.
  2. If a woman leads a man on by dressing up, dancing with him close, and kissing him— the man is somewhat justified to have sexual intercourse with her, even if she says she doesn’t want to.
  3. What people call “date rape” is often just sex that got a little rough.
  4. A man is somewhat justified to have sex with a woman against her wishes if (a) she willingly entered the man’s room and (b) she is known to have had sex with many men before.
  5. If a woman allows a man to pick up all the expenses for a date, she is probably willing to have sex with him.
  6. Using coercion or physical restraint is a legitimate way to acquire sex from a certain type of woman.
  7. A woman who was forced to have sex with a male acquaintance would probably get over it easier than if she were mugged or beaten up by a stranger.
  8. In many cases, if a woman is raped by an acquaintance, she has to take some responsibility for what happened to her.
  9. If a woman is going to be raped, she may as well relax and enjoy it.
  10. Rape can occur between two college students—even if they seem to be a normal couple who are often seen together at parties.
  11. Women need to take responsibility for the attention they attract if they are going to wear sexy clothes.
  12. The judicial system is too harsh on men in cases of alleged sexual assault, and they do not look enough at women’s behavior or responsibility.
  13. If a woman willingly gets drunk, then she is raped—she is more responsible for what happened to her than if she had decided not to drink.
  14. A woman can dress as she wants to, drink if she wants to, and not hold any of the blame if she is raped.
  15. Certain women are more likely to be raped because of their flirting, teasing, or promiscuous behavior.
  16. Women who lead men on deserve less sympathy if they are raped.
  17. Women who commonly frequent “sex atmospheres,” such as bars or fraternity parties—are seemingly advertising their sexual availability.
  18. Women often falsely cry “rape” because they are feeling guilty about having sex, or they want to get back at the man.
  19. A lot of people, especially women, are too likely to label a sexual encounter as rape.
  20. Any woman who properly resists can prevent having sex with an acquaintance whom she does not want to have sex.
  21. A man who is sexually active has a better reputation, and is more popular with peers, than a man who is not sexually active.
  22. For college men, there is a constant pressure or expectation to have sex.
  23. A man’s status among his peers would be enhanced if he had sex with a woman who was a known tease.
  24. Being sexually active is a measure of manhood.
  25. It is an unspoken rule that if a woman willingly goes with a man to some private or secluded place (such as the man’s room), that she intends to have sex with him.
  26. If a woman asks a man out on a date, she is probably willing to have sex with him.
  27. If a man does not have sex while he is in college, people—including women—will think he is gay.
  28. Women who drink at parties are giving off a signal that they are more sexually available than women who do not drink at parties.
  29. Women offer “token resistance” in sexual matters (i.e. they say no when they mean yes) to avoid seeming “too easy.”
  30. When a woman smiles at, or touches a man—she is probably letting him know that she is sexually interested in him.
  31. It is of utmost importance that men be knowledgeable and experienced in sexual matters.
  32. Most sexual activity is seen by men and women alike as a prelude to intercourse.
  33. Mixing sex and alcohol is dangerous business and should not be done.
  34. Alcohol is a good sexual agent because it relaxes both parties involved, frees them from inhibitions, and enhances the sexual experience.
  35. Men may as well try to get all the sex they can while they’re in college.
  36. It is okay for a man to have sex with a female acquaintance who is drunk.
  37. If a man wants to increase his chances of having sex with a woman, he should get her drunk.
  38. It is acceptable for men to falsely profess love (or commitment) to get what they want from a woman sexually.
  39. If a woman is unsure about whether she wants sex, it is okay for a man to persist until she flatly says no.
  40. A good way for a man to get a woman to agree to have sex with him is by spending a lot of money on her.
  41. I don’t particularly like men who act in ways I consider feminine.
  42. Even today, it is more appropriate for men (rather than women) to hold jobs such as manager, CEO, or president.
  43. Being independent, adventurous, and tough are still characteristics that define true masculinity.
  44. Even today, college men should select a major that will lead to a job in which they can make a lot of money.
  45. It is unwise for men to show their emotions.
  46. I don’t like a lot of what the feminist movement is trying to do.
  47. Women often make men “jump through hoops” to agree to have sex with them.
  48. Even in today’s world, men should be the sexual initiators.
  49. I believe that women can be whatever they want to be, whether it be president or housewife.
  50. Most women don’t understand that sexual jokes and innuendos are only for fun and are harmless.

Response Options:
Strongly Agree - 4
Agree - 3
Disagree - 2
Strongly Disagree - 1

Scoring Procedures

Mean scores are calculated.

Original Citation

Burgess, G. H. (2007). Assessment of rape-supportive attitudes and beliefs in college men: Development, reliability, and validity of the rape attitudes and beliefs scale. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22(8), 973-993.

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


Join the EMERGE Community

to get the latest updates on new measures and guidance for survey researchers