Western Undergraduate Psychology Journal


This paper explores the possibility that rape incidence in populations other than heterosexual females (traditional victims) may be significantly higher than generally tends to be acknowledged. Specific consideration is given to rape victims who are referred to as nontraditional victims, which include homosexual females, homosexual males, heterosexual males, transsexual females, and transsexual males. An overview of research on nontraditional-victim rape is presented to illuminate possible factors that moderate whether nontraditional victims conceptualize their experience as a rape and whether they subsequently report the event. These factors are then applied within the framework of Peterson and Muehlenhard’s (2011) Match-and-Motivation model to support the possibility that nontraditional victims are less likely to label events as rape and less likely to report events when they are labeled as rape. Discussion concludes with comments on a potential reevaluation of the focus of rape research away from exclusively heterosexual females in favor of research that addresses both traditional and nontraditional victims.

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