This innovative book looks at popular perceptions of sexual violence and asks such key questions as: How is 'rape' defined? Who is responsible for sexual assault? How can rape be prevented? The author critically examines feminist and psychological theory and research on attitudes towards rape. Drawing on case studies, survey research, experiments, fieldwork and action-oriented research from Europe, North America and Asia, Ward combines qualitative and quantitative approaches to understanding sexual violence. She highlights the negative consequences for rape victims of biased and prejudicial perceptions of sexual violence, including those of legal, medical and helping professionals, and discusses the impact of these attitudes on victims' self-perceptions. The book concludes by suggesting strategies for changing ideas about sexual assault, including, for example, action-oriented research which is designed to raise consciousness and improve services for victims.