Rape victim and perpetrator blame and the Just World hypothesis: The influence of victim gender and age

Journal of Sexual Aggression 01/2012; DOI: 10.1080/13552600.2012.683455


Victims of rape are sometimes blamed for the assaults against them. Research has examined primarily female victims; much less is known about men as victims and whether victim age affects attributions of victim blame. Furthermore, the study investigated the effects of Belief in a Just World (BJW) on blame attributions. Employing a vignette-type experimental study with a 2 (gender of participant)×2 (victim's gender)×2 (victim's age)×2 (participant BJW score) between-subjects design and several measures of blame attributions towards victim and perpetrator as dependent variables, a community sample (n = 164) participated. The main results were as hypothesised, namely that young male victims were attributed more blame, particularly by participants scoring high on BJW. Overall, victim blame level was low and perpetrator blame was high, and BJW was a powerful predictor of blame attributions.

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Available from: Leif A Strömwall
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    • "Previous researchers have pointed out that Swedish people hold more egalitarian sex-role beliefs in comparison to most countries (Sevilla-Sanz, 2010), which may question the generalizability of this study's results. However, the current study is part of a larger research program that has consistently shown that Swedish community members are, in general, more reluctant to blame the victim (Strömwall et al., 2013a, b). In their review, Grubb and Harrower (2008) called for more victim blame research from countries other than USA and the UK. "
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