In the Eye of the Beholder: Do Behavior and Character Affect Victim and Perpetrator Responsibility for Acquaintance Rape?


Acquaintance rape attributions of responsibility were investigated. In Study 1, participants viewed videotapes that varied the female victim's resistance (verbal, physical, verbal/physical) and the reaction of the perpetrator (anger, no reaction) or a control videotape. The victim was held less responsible and the perpetrator was held more responsible when the victim resisted. In Study 2, participants viewed videotapes that manipulated victim and perpetrator reputation. Victims were held more responsible when they had a bad reputation; perpetrators were held more responsible when the victim had a good reputation or the perpetrator had a bad reputation. Hostile sexism predicted victim responsibility in both studies; rape myth predicted victim and perpetrator responsibility in Study 2. Implications for the legal system are discussed.

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Journal of Applied Social Psychology



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© 2009 Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.