Online Commenting About a Victim of Female-on-Male Rape: The Case of Shia LaBeouf’s Sexual Victimization

Inna Levy, Keren Miriam Adam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The present study explored social responses toward male victims of female-perpetrated rape by analyzing 505 comments posted on in response to the report that Shia LaBeouf, an American actor and director, was raped by a woman. Using inductive thematic analysis, three themes were generated: Victim’s Character, Victim’s Behavior and Victim’s Story. In addition, each comment was rated regarding its general attitude toward the victim: negative, positive, or mixed. We found that 55% of the comments expressed negative, blaming attitudes toward the victim, 35% were positive and supportive, and 10% were mixed. The findings show that negative comments depict rape as a sexual act against the victim’s will, whereas positive comments portray rape as sexual acts without the victim’s consent. Additionally, negative comments addressed expectation regarding “real men” and “real rape,” whereas positive comments emphasized gender equality in rape comprehension and victim treatment. Our discussion addresses the findings within the context of traditional gender roles and perceptions of “real” rape and presents implications for education and training. Furthermore, we suggest that the existence of positive and mixed responses may indicate a possible change in boundaries of social responses not just regarding male rape victims, but for all rape victims.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)578-593
Number of pages16
JournalSex Roles
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Blaming
  • Female perpetrated rape
  • Gender
  • Hegemonic masculinity
  • Male victim of rape
  • Masculinity
  • Online comments
  • Rape
  • Talkback
  • Victim blaming


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