Rape in America: an Empirical Test of Two Theories
This study investigates two macro-social theories of rape - pornography consumption and gender inequality - utilizing state-level data. First, it is argued that media consumption patterns have changed due to the popularity of the internet and increasing household broadband access. In particular, it is contended that men who consume pornography prefer the internet to traditional mediums such as hard-copy magazines and DVDs. To test this assumption, a survey was administered to a convenience sample of nearly 500 male students at Rowan University. The results show evidence that males who intentionally consume pornography prefer the internet and, therefore, the use of broadband access as a proxy measure of pornography consumption is justified to some degree. Second, using the most recent state-level data available, a partial replication and modification of Baron and Straus's (1989) Four Theories of Rape in American Society was conducted employing several measures of pornography consumption (i.e., sex magazine circulation rate and household broadband access), gender equality, and control variables. This study examines whether pornography consumption and gender equality significantly predict rape rates in the United States, twenty years after Four Theories of Rape in American Society was first published. The analyses provide little support for these two theories of rape and the implications of these findings are discussed.