You too? No way! Rape mythology applied to credibility assessments of applications based on sexual or gender-based violence in the European asylum procedure

01 November 2021 → 31 October 2025
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Humanities
    • Gender studies
  • Social sciences
    • Political and legal anthropology
    • Constitutional law
    • Human rights law
    • International law
Credibility assessment in the asylum procedure Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) Rape mythology
Project description

This research will study the concept of ‘rape mythology’ in the asylum procedure. The key reason for the refusal of asylum applications based on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is their non-credibility. These credibility assessments are often based on stereotypical, superficial, erroneous, or inappropriate perceptions of gender. In the criminal justice system, such perceptions have been conceptualised as ‘rape myths’: prejudicial, stereotyped or false beliefs about rape, rape victims and rapists. The hypothesis that this phenomenon occurs across different social and institutional contexts raises the question: ‘Which insights can be drawn from applying the rape mythology concept to the context of credibility assessments of SGBV asylum applications in the European asylum procedure?’ (going beyond only ‘rape’ as a type of SGBV). In order to formulate an answer, this research adopts a mixed method approach, basing its data collection on 3 complementary resources: the existing literature (through a literature analysis), the asylum authorities (through a case law study and a self-reporting KAP survey) and the asylum seekers themselves (through qualitative interviews). This triangulation of input will not only innovatively expand the understanding of the asylum procedure and its challenges. It will also contribute to the further theorization of the rape mythology definition and of new myths applying to new types of SGBV in the asylum context.