Updated Measure for Assessing Subtle Rape Myths

An Updated Measure for Assessing Subtle Rape Myths is a 22-item measure of rape myths among college students. It is the revised version of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale, it contains updated, relevant language to the college student population, and captures subtle rape myths with an emphasis on victim blaming. The four subscales of the measure are (1) she asked for it, (2) it wasn't really rape, (3) he didn't mean to, and (4) she lied.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range: Adolescents, Adults


She asked for it
1. If a girl initiates kissing or hooking up, she should not be surprised if a guy assumes she wants to have sex.
2. When girls go to parties wearing slutty clothes, they are asking for trouble.
3. If a girl is raped while she is drunk, she is at least somewhat responsible for letting things get out of control.
4. If a girl goes to a room alone with a guy at a party, it is her own fault if she is raped.
5. If a girl acts like a slut, eventually she is going to get into trouble.
6. When girls are raped, it’s often because the way they said “no” was unclear.
7. If a girl doesn’t say “no” she can’t claim rape.

It wasn't really rape
8. If a girl doesn’t physically fight back, you can’t really say it was rape.
9. If a girl doesn’t physically resist sex—even if protesting verbally—it can’t be considered rape.
10. If the accused “rapist” doesn’t have a weapon, you really can’t call it a rape.
11. A rape probably didn’t happen if the girl has no bruises or marks.

He didn't mean to
12. Guys don’t usually intend to force sex on a girl, but sometimes they get too sexually carried away.
13. When guys rape, it is usually because of their strong desire for sex.
14. Rape happens when a guy’s sex drive gets out of control.
15. If a guy is drunk, he might rape someone unintentionally.
16. If both people are drunk, it can’t be rape.
17. It shouldn’t be considered rape if a guy is drunk and didn’t realize what he was doing.

She lied
18. A lot of times, girls who say they were raped often led the guy on and then had regrets.
19. Rape accusations are often used as a way of getting back at guys.
20. A lot of times, girls who say they were raped agreed to have sex and then regret it.
21. Girls who are caught cheating on their boyfriends sometimes claim that it was a rape.
22. A lot of times, girls who claim they were raped just have emotional problems.

Response Options:
Strongly disagree - 1
Disagree - 2
Neutral - 3
Agree - 4
Strongly agree - 5

Scoring Procedures

Mean composite scores are created for both the total scale and subscales.

Original Citation

McMahon, S., & Farmer, G. L. (2011). An updated measure for assessing subtle rape myths. Social Work Research, 35(2), 71-81.

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