Formation of rape myths in policing. Research Stay at Harvard University

Name of applicant

Elisabeth Naima Mikkelsen


Associate Professor


Copenhagen Business School


DKK 100,000



Type of grant

Field Trips / Research Stays < 100,000


Although rape is a serious problem, it remains one of the most underreported crimes. A major cause of this ‘justice gap’ are pervasive beliefs about rape, commonly known as ‘rape myths’, held by police officers and legal professionals within judicial systems. Rape myths are stereotyped and false beliefs about rape, rape victims and rapists. To unpack why police officers begin to believe in these myths in the first place, this research project examines how police trainees and newly qualified officers experience and handle encounters with victims of sexual assault. The aim of my research stay at Harvard University is to build research collaborations with leading scholars in gender and diversity studies, to focus on how gender and power contribute to police officers’ sensemaking in rape cases and result in their belief in rape myths. Additionally, augmenting my current research project about rape myths in the Danish police, I will collect qualitative data from American police recruits at Boston Police Academy to enhance the generalizability of findings.

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