• Naja Hybschmann
Abstract – Why would a man report a rape for fun?
In the light of the consent-based rape legislation introduced in Denmark in 2021, this thesis explores how Danish police recruits’ perceptions of gender influence their understandings of rape victims. The study is inspired by experiences I had during my internship at Politiskolen. Prioritizing those perceptions of gender that are considered problematic for the policework, so called rape myths, the thesis aims at understanding the need and potential for prevention of rape myths based on gender and thereby improving the policework in rape cases in Danish police.
The study consists of 34 female and male police recruits divided into six focus groups. They all have on-the-job training and they have recently finished a course on sexual crimes. Furthermore, two police investigators from a specialized team have been interviewed to reflect upon the relevance of the police recruits’ perceptions. To analyze the focus groups, I rely on theories about the ideal victim, symbolic violence, and Sexual Script Theory (SST).
The study finds that a limited number of the police recruits hold problematic gender perceptions in relation to rape victims. These include: 1. Female rape victims must be aware of how they are behaving when under the influence of alcohol and how they are dressing to avoid unwanted attention. This rape myth is mainly held by female recruits, who feel they can identify with female rape victims and therefore draw on their own experiences in such cases, 2. Only women are mentioned in relation to false reports of rape, which especially some of the male police recruits overestimated the frequency of and joked about, 3. Male rape victims are deemed more credible than female rape victims, because the police recruits regard it as a bigger taboo for men than for women to report a rape, and therefore they are risking more, 4. Male rape victims are generally expected to fight back if they are being raped because men in general are considered physically superior in society, 5. The male offender who is familiar with the female rape victim did not mean to hurt anyone and can gain sympathy from the police recruits, especially after the consent-based rape legislation has been enforced, which can minimize the responsibility of the male offender.
In conclusion, some of the police recruits’ perceptions of gender can be harmful for rape victims and their cases, if they are acted upon. However, this is not explored in the thesis. The thesis suggests that addressing stereotypical gender perceptions in police culture should be the starting point to help preventing gendered rape myths. This can make a positive difference in police work with rape cases as well as other cases.
Publication date9 Jan 2023
Number of pages67
ID: 509567100