Sex Roles

, Volume 79, Issue 9–10, pp 578–593 | Cite as

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

  • Inna LevyEmail author
  • Keren-Miriam Adam
Original Article


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.


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



We thank Prof. Sarah Ben David, Dr. Hila Aviely, Dr. Keren Cohen-Louck and Gil Levy for their advice and helpful comments and Zefat Academic College for funding the writing of this manuscript. We also thank Dr. Russell Luyt for his constructive and helpful suggestions.


Zefat Academic College funded the editing of this paper. The authors did not receive any other funding for this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

There are no potential conflicts of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants and/ or Animals

For this type of study formal consent is not required. We analyzed public comments. No personal information about online commenter was obtained.

Supplementary material

11199_2018_893_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 22.9 kb)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Multidisciplinary StudiesZefat Academic CollegeZefatIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Criminology & Ariel Center for Cyber TechnologyAriel UniversityArielIsrael
  3. 3.Social Work DepartmentOstfalia University for Applied ScienceWolfenbüttelGermany

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