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Abstract

Rape symbolizes lost innocence. Many young females increasingly endure sexual violence at the hands of multiple male assailants. Despite the common coupling of group dynamics and rapes, little evidence proposes Irving Janis’s theory of groupthink as one plausible explanation. This paper argues that the two concepts are related; groupthink needs to hold a more prominent position within the sexual violence literature. A case in the small town of Steubenville, Ohio provides the backdrop for investigating how groupthink impacts instances of gang rapes. Integration of the scholarly literature available on groupthink and sexual violence establishes the basis of this research. Janis’s groupthink model implements symptoms and features as criteria for distinguishing what constitutes an unhealthy group interaction. Steubenville reveals the presence of several such components, therefore reinforcing the assertion that groupthink does influence the interaction among members of a gang rape. New knowledge in this area of study encourages the development of preventative programs that help prevent this type of group activity from forming. Such improvements may aid in decreasing the prevalence of these gang rapes.