Multiple perpetrator rape victimization: How it differs and why it matters
Many contemporary women live in societies where victim blame is common due to beliefs in male superiority, rape myths, and negative, stereotyped attitudes towards women (Ullman, 2010). Despite a generally rape supportive culture, actual assaults vary in their specific characteristics and impacts on victims. Victims often need positive emotional support and tangible assistance from informal and formal support sources following assault, and such support can enhance recovery (Ullman, 1999a). While some victims get such positive support, they also often receive negative social reactions (e.g. blame, disbelief) from those who they tell about their assaults, and receiving more negative reactions is related to greater use of avoidance coping (Ullman, Filipas, Townsend, & Starzynski, 2007). Thus, part of helping victims to recover must entail interventions to reduce such negative reactions from informal network members and secondary victimization (e.g. negative treatment) from the medical and criminal justice organizations which women deal with post-rape (Ullman, 2010). One major dimension that has been less studied in rape research and studies of recovery, but which is important to examine, is the number of perpetrators in an assault and its effect on victims during and after the crime.