Victim Blame

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Why people blame the rape victim
A victim blame bibliography

 

Rape is the only crime in which the victim must prove his or her

innocence.

There is an age old question: Whose fault is it when someone is raped?

The answer: Rape is always the fault of the rapist.

"In real life, however, rape victims are brutalized, ignored and harassed by the system that is designed to help them. They are traumatized stigmatized or shamed for life if they are not killed during the attack." p. 262

The Encyclopedia of Rape

 

What is victim blame?

"Victim blaming is holding the victim responsible for what has happened to her/him. One way in which victim blaming is perpetuated is through rape myths. Rape myths allow us to blame the victim and are often common false beliefs." Safe Campus Project

http://www.umaine.edu/SafeCampusProject/RS.htm

The two main theories behind victim blame are the Just World Hypothesis and the Assumptive World Theory (Invulnerability Theory).

Summary:

Just World Theory: For the most part victim blame occurs when someone initially attempts to assist a rape victim and is unable to remedy the situation satisfactorily. This is likely due to lack of knowledge about rape trauma syndrome, what to expect and how to best help victims. At this point the would-be helper feels the need to re-establish their idea of the world as a just place. In order to retain this comfort zone it is sometimes concluded that the victim must have deserved his or her fate because a remedy cannot be found.

Detailed explanation:

"The tendency to blame rape victims has resulted in competing theories to explain those conclusions reached by fault-finding observers. Observers' motivational needs have been broached by the "just world" theory (Lerner & Miller, 1978) and the need to protect one's own sense of invulnerability." (Schneider et. al., 1994).

The most well known theory behind victim blaming is the just world hypothesis. "Individuals that have a strong belief in a just world can have this belief challenged when they encounter a victim of random misfortune such as a rape victim. The individual wants to believe that the world is a safe, just place where people get what they deserve and deserve what they get. Even when evidence suggests otherwise, the individual is very reluctant to give up this belief that the world is not just. In the face of contradicting evidence, research suggests (Kleinke and Meyer, 1996) that people with a high belief in a just world will do one of two things: either they will try to eliminate the suffering of the innocent victims or else they will derogate them for their fate. Since it is impossible to reverse the crime of rape, and thus relieve the victim of her suffering, the rape victim is often subjected to derogation and blame. In this manner, the person who believes in a just world can maintain this belief as there is no longer a suffering person, but a woman who deserves her misfortune."

The invulnerability theory states that rape victims are a glaring reminder of our own vulnerability. No one likes to think they could loose control over their own body or life. By deciding a rape victim did something concrete to deserve the assault the observer creates a false sense of safety. If they can avoid doing that particular thing or action then they create the illusion of invulnerability for themselves.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia 2007 entry for "Rape" only 2% of accused rapists are convicted. In contrast FBI studies indicate that only 2% of all rape reports are false. "Low conviction rates result from insufficient evidence to prosecute, dismissal of trial due to technicalities and reluctance of victims to testify. For these reasons, low conviction rates do not imply false reporting". According to The New Encyclopædia Britannica rapists also have high acquittal rates due to the fact that there are often no witnesses to the crime.

A recent poll found that a third of respondants believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped. Amnesty International

Who deserves to be hurt?

No one wonders what the victim of a mugging or violent murder did to deserve it.

Rape is a crime of violence, power and control. No one "deserves" it.

In the article "The Rape of Mr. Smith" It is pointed out that the law discriminates against rape victims in a manner that would not be tolerated by victims of any other crime. In the situation, a lawyer asks questions of a hold-up survivor.

It is sometimes claimed that a rapist can't stop their sexual urges once the victim has 'provoked' them in some way. If you made someone very, very angry- is it justifiable that they loose control of their impulses and kill you? No. Under the law people are required to control themselves.

The only factors that come into play in increasing the risk of rape are those that make people vulnerable. The greatest predicting factor is having been sexually assaulted previously (because of PTSD). Having been abused as a child or adolescent doubles the liklihood that a person will be sexually assaulted as an adult.

See also: self blame research which addresses the quetion of why rape victims feel guilty for being the victim of a crime.

Related topics: Stockholm syndrome (the victim identifies with the perpetrator's world view in order to understand what will help them survive), it's four criteria and Hate crimes (which now includes gender bias crimes and PTSD related hate crimes), cognitive dissonance.

 

Rape Trauma Syndrome:

Not knowing the symptoms of rape trauma syndrome may add to victim blaming. What kind of symptoms can you expect?

Behaviour characteristics involved in Rape Trauma Syndrome.

The main thing to know is that there are two types of reactions: controlled and expressed. This means some people are very outwardly upset and others repress their feelings. This is sometimes called wearing a 'mask' to appear normal and avoid stigma.

"In the expressed style. the victim demonstrated such feelings as anger, fear and anxiety. They were restless during the interview, becoming tense when certain questions were asked, crying or sobbing when describing specific acts of the assailant, smiling in an anxious manner when certain issues were stated.

In the controlled style, the feelings of the victim were masked or hidden, and a calm, composed or subdued affect could be noted." from The Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault Training Manual

Borkenhagen, C. K. (1975). The Legal Bias Against Rape Victims (The Rape of Mr. Smith). American Bar Association Journal, 61. discussion.

Macdonalds, J. (2007). Rape. In The World Book Encyclopedia. United States of America: World Book Inc.

Rape (2007). In The New Encyclopædia Britannica (Vol. 9). Chicago, Il.: Britannica.

Sedney, M., "rape (crime)." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 <http://gme.grolier.com> (February 1, 2006).

 

 

Resources to research this subject:

Journals and articles

To search for more victim blame articles try the NCJRS database

Google scholar or Findarticles

Finding books at the library

Online Libraries on sexual assault

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Search terms: rape crisis

Related links: Victim blame

Other related topics: College and Fraternity Rape, Prevention, Hate crimes, Rape as a violation of rights- women are not damaged property, Invisible community.

 

 

Victim Blame Bibliography

Search for an item in libraries near you:
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Scholarly Journal Articles

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1)

Article title: An exploratory approach to self-blame and self-derogation by rape victims

Journal title:American-Journal-of-Orthopsychiatry Find this in a library

Database to look in:Social Work Abstracts

APA citation:

Libow, J. & Doty, D. (1979). An exploratory approach to self-blame and self-derogation by rape victims. American-Journal-of-Orthopsychiatry, 49(4), 670-679.

Quote:

A study was undertaken to determine whether self-attributed blame or self-derogation is empirically verifiable for acute rape victims, and whether belief in a just world and avoidance of harm or blame are relevant explanatory constructs. Quantitative and interview data were gathered from seven rape victims. Results supported self-blaming as an important aspect of response to rape, and future avoidance of harm rather than a belief in a just world was found as the most relevant motive. The factor of compensation to the victim appeared important as a means to reduce the victim's need to derogate herself as a result of the rape. The phenomenon of compassion for, or identification with, the rapist also emerged from the data. Clinical implications of these findings for the adjustment of victims, the therapeutic exploration of compensation, counseling strategies, and the legal system are discussed.

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2)

Article title: Social Perception of Rape: How Rape Myth Acceptance Modulates the Influence of Situational Factors

Journal title: Journal-of-Interpersonal-Violence Find this in a library

Database to look in: Psychinfo

APA citation:


Frese, B., Moya, M., & Megius, J. L. (2004). Social Perception of Rape: How Rape Myth Acceptance Modulates the Influence of Situational Factors. Journal-of-Interpersonal-Violence, 19(2), 143-161.


Quote:

"This study assessed the role of rape myth acceptance (RMA) and situational factors in the perception of three different rape scenarios (date rape, marital rape, and stranger rape). One hundred and eighty-two psychology undergraduates were asked to emit four judgements about each rape situation: victim responsibility, perpetrator responsibility, intensity of trauma, and likelihood to report the crime to the police. It was hypothesized that neither RMA nor situational factors alone can explain how rape is perceived; it is the interaction between these two factors that best account for social reactions to sexual aggression. The results generally supported the authors' hypothesis: Victim blame, estimation of trauma, and the likelihood of reporting the crime to the police were best explained by the interaction between observer characteristics, such as RMA, and situational clues. That is, the less stereotypic the rape situation was, the greater was the influence of attitudes toward rape on attributions.

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3)

Article title: Perceptions of Stranger and Acquaintance Rape: The Role of Benevolent and Hostile Sexism in Victim Blame and Rape Proclivity

Journal title: Journal-of-Personality-and-Social-Psychology Find this in a library

Database to look in: Psychinfo

APA citation:


Abrahms, D., Viky, G., Masser, B., & Gerd, B. (2003). Perceptions of stranger and acquaintance rape: The role of benevolent and hostile sexism in victim blame and rape proclivity. Journal-of-Personality-and-Social-Psychology, 84(1), 111-125.


Quote:

"In Studies 1 and 2, after reading an acquaintance-rape but not a stranger-rape scenario, higher benevolent sexist but not hostile sexist participants blamed the victim significantly more. In Study 2, higher hostile sexist but not benevolent sexist male participants showed significantly greater proclivity to commit acquaintance (but not stranger) rape. Studies 3 and 4 supported the hypothesis that the effects of benevolent sexism and hostile sexism are mediated by different perceptions of the victim, as behaving inappropriately and as really wanting sex with the rapist. These findings show that benevolent sexism and hostile sexism underpin different assumptions about women that generate sexist reactions towardrape victims.

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4)

Article title: Blaming the victim of rape: The culpable control model perspective.

Journal title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International Find this in a library

Database to look in: PsycINFO

APA citation:

Pauwels, B. (2002). Blaming the victim of rape: The culpable control model perspective. Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering, 63(5-B),.

This is a scholarly article examing why we blame the victim rather than the perpetrator of rape.

Quote:

"Three vignette-based studies are presented that represent the first attempt to examine rape victim blame within the context of an explicit, comprehensive theory of blame. Study 1 examined the hypothesis that evaluative information about a victim of rape would have a greater effect upon victim blaming when the victim's personal control over the rape was portrayed as somewhat elevated, rather than unambiguously low."

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5)

Article title: High school and college students' attitudes toward rape.

Journal title: Adolescence Find this in a library

Database to look in:Social Work Abstracts

APA citation:

Blumberg, M. & Lester, D. (1991). High school and college students' attitudes toward rape. Adolescence, 26(103), 727-729.

Quote:

This study explores the relationship between agreement with myths about rape and the tendency to blame the victim in a sample of high school and college students. It was found that high school males believed more strongly than did both high school females and college males in myths about rape, and they assigned greater blame to the victims of rape. For both high school males and females, belief in myths about rape was associated with assigning more blame to the victims. (Journal abstract.)

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6)

Article title:

Models of Rape Judgment: attributions concerning event, perpetrator, and victim.

Journal title:

Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Find this in a library

Database to look in:

PsycInfo

APA citation:

Langley, T., Yost, E.A., O'Neal, E.C., Taylor, S.L., et al. (1991). Models of Rape Judgment: attributions concerning event, perpetrator, and victim. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 17, (1-2), 43-54.

Quote:

"Discusses analytical models developed to identify perceptions that may serve as cognitive mediators of rape judgments, including blaming victims, attribution of rape culpability, date rape attribution, and the influence of violent behavior. Victim blame appears to play little role in mediating judgment regarding punishment, restitution, and whether or not rape occurred. Earlier onset of victim protest increased recognition of the incident as rape, the likelihood that the offender would be convicted, and the likelihood that Ss would choose to award civil damages to the victim. The effects of onset were mediated by perception of the victim as desiring sexual intercourse. The degree of force used by the perpetrator yielded similar effects, mediated by the judges' perception of the incident as violent but only for male judges."

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7)

Article title: Blaming the victim of rape: The culpable control

model perspective

Journal title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering Find this in a library

Database to took in: PsycInfo

APA citation:

Pauwels, B. (2002). Blaming the victim of rape: The culpable control model perspective. Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering, 63(5-B).

This is a scholarly article examing why we blame the victim rather than the perpetrator of rape.

Quote:

"Three vignette-based studies are presented that represent the first attempt to examine rape victim blame within the context of an explicit, comprehensive theory of blame. Study 1 examined the hypothesis that evaluative information about a victim of rape would have a greater effect upon victim blaming when the victim's personal control over the rape was portrayed as somewhat elevated, rather than unambiguously low."

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8)

Article title: Attribution of rape blame as a function of victim gender and sexuality, and perceived similarity to the victim

Journal title: Journal of Homosexuality Find this in a library

Database to look in: contemporary womens issues

APA citation:

Shaver (2002). Attribution of rape blame as a function of victim gender and sexuality, and perceived similarity to the victim. Journal of Homosexuality, 43(2).

Quote:

This study examined respondents' perceived level of blame and responsibility for three victims of rape, as a function of attitudes toward homosexuals, and perceived similarity to the victim, as indicative of Shaver's (1970) Defensive Attribution Hypothesis. Victims were a homosexual and heterosexual male, and a female. A sample of 168 university students completed questionnaires, which included three rape scenarios and subsequent questions, the Index of Attitudes Toward Homosexuals (Hudson & Ricketts, 1980), and the short-form Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale (Reynolds, 1982). Results indicated that respondents higher in homophobia (regardless of gender) blamed the homosexual male rape victim and the behavior and character of the heterosexual male rape victim, more than the female rape victim. Male respondents in general also blamed the heterosexual male rape victim, more than female respondents. Shaver's defensive attribution hypothesis was not supported. Results are discussed in terms of the possible link between homophobia and male rape blame.

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9)

Article title: Madcap Misogyny and Romanticized Victim-Blaming: Discourses of Stalking in There's Something About Mary

Journal title: Women & Language Find this in a library

Database to look in: contemporary womens issues

APA citation:

Anderson , K. J. & Accomando, C. (1999). Madcap Misogyny and Romanticized Victim-Blaming: Discourses of Stalking in There's Something About Mary. Women & Language, 1, 24-28.

Quote:

"One aspect of victim-blaming is the belief in rape myths. Rape myths serve a patriarchal world view, in which men possess and deserve greater power and privilege than women. Such myths include the construction that women cause, deserve, or even enjoy being raped. Blaming the victim of rape also shifts causality in interesting ways. On the one hand, in stereotypical representations, men are depicted are powerful and active while women are depicted as powerless and passive. On the other hand, rape myths shift causality to preserve male privilege (in this case the right of access to women's bodies) by constructing women as agents of their own rape. Women become temptresses and men appear at the mercy of women and of their own hormones. A more general theory to explain victim-blaming is the belief in a just world. The "just world" hypothesis is the tendency to believe that the world is a fair and just place and that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. Thus, to maintain this belief, one must search for evidence to suggest that victims instigated their misfortune (see Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1994, for a review). Ryan (1971) explains victim-blaming as a strategy to avoid the hard work of societal change. He argues that by blaming victims for their misfortunes, society can then work to change specific unfortunate individuals rather than change institutional and widespread prejudices. Therefore, instead of examining why some men stalk women and why that is viewed as normal, one can examine women for characteristics about them that must have caused them to be talked."

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10)

Article title: The relationship of optimism, empathy, internality, interpersonal violence, and gender to rape blame under four victim conditions Journal title: Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering Find this in a library

Database to look in: PsycINFO

APA citation:

Moonstarr, M. (2000). The relationship of optimism, empathy, internality, interpersonal violence, and gender to rape blame under four victim conditions. Dissertation-Abstracts-International:-Section-B:-The-Sciences-and-Engineering, 61(3-B ), 1699.

Quote:

"The relationships of optimism, rape empathy, locus of control, degree of acceptance of interpersonal violence, and gender upon attributions of rape blame were examined in four experimental conditions. The conditions were four variations on one rape scenario. These conditions varied a positive or negative character portrayal and a positive or negative behavior portrayal of the victim. Behavioral and characterological assessments of victim blameworthiness were obtained. The dependent measures for victim blameworthiness were an index for behavioral blame and an index for character blame. Predictor variables selected for study were those indicated in the literature as potential mediators for rape blame attributions. Participants were 321 undergraduate and graduate students at Howard University. A questionnaire was used to assess type of blame attributed to the victim based on the scenario as well as demographic and attitude information. Other blame sources and victim experiences were also examined. It was hypothesized that participants would be expected to blame a rape victim's behavior rather than character, the higher their optimism, empathy, internal locus of control and rejection of interpersonal violence. Further, it was hypothesized that blame type would vary dependent upon participant's gender and victim descriptions. Hypotheses were partially confirmed. Attitudes found to be related to victim-blame were primarily interpersonal violence and secondarily empathy. In the conditions of negative behavior portrayals for victims, despite character, higher behavioral blame was attributed. It appeared that a victim's behavior rather than character influenced attributions of either behavior or character victim-blame. Finally, regardless of victim description, men blamed the victim's character significantly more than women did. As another research interest, age was examined in relation to type of victim-blame. Students over the age of 25 placed significantly less behavioral blame on the rape victim. Breaking this analysis up by scenario did not reveal any differences in this pattern. A final research inquiry was added by examining change in victim-blame should the rape victim insist upon condom use. Results indicated an increase in both victim-blames, which was augmented in the scenarios with negative character descriptions."

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11)

Article title: The association between the offender & victim relationship, severity of offence and attribution of blame in mentally disordered offenders.

Journal title: Psychology, Crime & Law Find this in a library

Database to look in: PsycINFO

APA citation:

Fox, Simone. (2000). The association between the offender victim relationship, severity of offence and attribution of blame in mentally disordered offenders. Psychology, Crime & Law Sep2005, Vol. 11 Issue 3, p255-264 10p

Quote:

"The aim of this research was to investigate the association between the offender–victim relationship, severity of violence and attribution of blame for a violent act. Data were collected from 65 male psychiatric inpatients from two secure units. Participants were divided into three groups according to how well they knew their victim: victim well-known, victim acquaintance and victim stranger. Violent acts were further ranked according to offence severity. Participants were administered the Quick Test (QT) and the Gudjonsson Blame Attribution Inventory (GBAI). Although there was a trend towards higher guilt attributions when the victim was well-known to the perpetrator, this relationship was complicated by the severity of the violent act. The most severe ranking of offence (i.e. murder/manslaughter) was most common in the offender group who knew their victim well. Furthermore, guilt-feeling attributions were highest in the most severe ranking of offence. The implications of these findings for assessment and intervention programmes are considered."

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12)

Article title: The Effect of Participant Sex, Victim Dress, and Traditional Attitudes on Causal Judgments for Marital Rape Victims.

Journal title: Journal of Family Violence Find this in a library

Database to look in: Psychinfo

APA citation:

The effect of participant sex, victim dress, and traditional attitudes on causal judgments for marital rape victims. (Author Abstract). Mark A. Whatley. Journal of Family Violence 20.3 (June 2005): p191(10). From InfoTrac OneFile.

Quote:

"This study investigated the effects of participant sex, victim dress, and attitudes influencing the tendency to blame a marital rape victim. College undergraduates completed the Attitudes toward Marriage Scale, an intervening cognitive task, and a read fictitious scenario of a marital rape incident where the victim was dressed somberly or seductively. Participants then completed a brief questionnaire. As predicted, males rated the victim more deserving of the attack than females. As predicted, the suggestively dressed victim was rated more responsible and deserving than the somberly dressed victim. As predicted, participants holding more traditional attitudes toward marriage were more likely to assign more victim responsibility and deservingness than participants with more egalitarian attitudes. These findings are discussed within an attitudinal framework."

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13)

Article title: Victim Derogation and Victim Enhancement as Alternate Routes to System Justification.

Journal title: Psychological Science Find this in a library

Database to look in: PsycINFO

APA citation:

Kay, Aaron C., Jost, John T. & Young, Sean (2005) Victim Derogation and Victim Enhancement as Alternate Routes to System Justification. Psychological Science 16 (3), 240-246. doi: 10.1111/ j.0956-7976.2005.00810.x

Quote:

"Numerous studies have documented the potential for victim-blaming attributions to justify the status quo. Recent work suggests that complementary, victim-enhancing stereotypes may also increase support for existing social arrangements. We seek to reconcile these seemingly contradictory findings by proposing that victim derogation and victim enhancement are alternate routes to system justification, with the preferred route depending on the perception of a causal link between trait and outcome. Derogating "losers" (and lionizing "winners") on traits (e.g., intelligence) that are causally related to outcomes (e.g., wealth vs. poverty) serves to increase system justification, as does compensating "losers" (and downgrading "winners") on traits (e.g., physical attractiveness) that are causally unrelated to those outcomes. We provide converging evidence using system-threat and stereotype-activation paradigms."

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14)

Article title: Belief in a just world and social perception: evidence for automatic activation

Journal title: J Soc Psychol Find this in a library

APA citation:

Murray JD, Spadafore JA, McIntosh WD. (2005) Belief in a just world and social perception: evidence for automatic activation. J Soc Psychol. Feb;145(1):35-47.

Database to look in: PubMed

Quote:

"The authors tested the hypothesis that beliefs in a just world are automatically activated and used in social perception. Under the guise of a perceptual vigilance task, the authors exposed 34 undergraduate women preconsciously to words that were either rape-related or neutral. Immediately after the exposure, participants read a date scenario that was ambiguous with respect to the man's aggressiveness and the extent to which the woman was responsible for the man's behavior. Afterwards, all participants evaluated the target man and woman on an impression task. The primary finding was that participants holding stronger beliefs in a just world perceived the target woman more negatively after experiencing the rape-related prime words than after experiencing the neutral words. This pattern is consistent with a research literature that shows that believers in a just world will often "blame the victim" in cases of rape. The present findings are important because they provide evidence that general, orienting beliefs are automatically activated in a manner similar to that shown by stereotype beliefs. The authors discussed implications for social perception."

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15)

Article title: Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and War and Torture Victims

Journal title: American Journal of Psychiatry Find this in a library

APA citation:

Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and War and Torture Victims. Waugaman, Richard M.; Waugaman, Adele; American Journal of Psychiatry, Vol 162(9), Sep 2005. pp. 1768-1769.

Database to look in: PsycINFO

Quote:

"Reviews the book "Broken Spirits: The Treatment of Traumatized Asylum Seekers, Refugees, and War and Torture Victims" edited by John P. Wilson and Boris Drozdek (2004). Wilson and Drozdek have put together a superb collection of chapters by 44 contributors, nearly all of whom work outside the United States. We all need to become better informed about the tragic stories told in this book. Mental health professionals will benefit from this overview of effective treatment interventions that are specially adapted to victims of war, political oppression, and torture. We may sometimes turn a blind eye to these victims, partly because of our survivor guilt in relationship to fellow human beings who have suffered from unspeakable horrors. Several other themes recur throughout the book. It is reassuring to see that all authors emphasize the initial and essential goal of establishing safety for survivors of trauma. Cultural variables receive the attention they deserve. Refugees experience cultural dislocation. The book's final two chapters address legal and political issues. Relevant international laws and treaties offer some protection for displaced persons, but draconian policies and unresponsive bureaucracies all too often interfere with effective and compassionate approaches to traumatized refugees." Find this journal article by journal title

 

16)

Article title: Victims as pariahs

Journal title: Christian Century Find this in a library

APA citation:

Kern, Kathleen (2006). Victims as pariahs. Christian Century. 123 (2), p9-9, 3/4p.

Database to look in: Student research center by ebscohost

Quote:

The article focuses on the efforts of the UWAKI Catholic organization to provide counselling, medical care and housing for raped and rejected women in Congo. Militia members rape women in front of their husbands and children as a form of military weapon, which has led to an increase in sexual assaults among civilians. The Congolese government has neglected the needs of women and children. Hundreds of thousands of women have been raped since 1998 according to the estimate of the United Nations and human rights groups who assist the victims.

"One of their weapons is systematic rape. Militia members rape women in front of their husbands and children. Afterward, the husbands or the husbands' families drive the "contaminated" women and their children from the village. Even when the women are not forced to leave, the husbands may demand that children born from the rapes be killed; caring for these children is considered acquiescing to the assault. The children of rape who survive become pariahs. Many end up as street children in the cities--a phenomenon unknown before 1996, according to several Congolese who spoke to our delegation from Christian Peacemaker Teams."

 

17)

Article title: Rape myth beliefs and prejudiced instructions: Effects on decisions of guilt in a case of date rape

Journal title: Legal & Criminological Psychology Find this in a library

APA citation:

Gray, Jacqueline M. (2006). Rape myth beliefs and prejudiced instructions: Effects on decisions of guilt in a case of date rape. Legal & Criminological Psychology, 11 (1), p75-80, 6p; DOI: 10.

Quote:

"The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential effects of pro and anti rape myth bias in judges' summing up statements on verdicts given by individuals. Method. A convenience sample of 90 male and 90 female students from a British university completed the Rape myth acceptance (RMA) scale (Burt, 1980). A scenario depicting a date rape was read, ending with guidance that was either pro or anti rape myth, or neutral. Results. Rape myth supporting guidance was associated with innocent verdicts, and anti rape myth guidance with guilty verdicts, regardless of degree of rape myth acceptance. Level of rapemyth acceptance and gender were also found to predict verdict. Conclusion. Rape myth biased guidance may influence verdicts in a rape scenario in which the attribution of blame to the man and woman depicted could be perceived as being ambiguous."

 

18)

Article title: Silent and silenced: The disclosure and non-disclosure of sexual assault.

Journal title: The Sciences and Engineering Find this in a library

Database to look in: PsycINFO

APA citation:

Ahrens, Courtney Elizabeth (2002). Silent and silenced: The disclosure and non-disclosure of sexual assault. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, Vol 63(3-B), Sep 2002. pp. 1553.

Quote:

"Nearly one quarter of all women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, but prevalent myths and stereotypes prevent many victims from disclosing the assault to their friends, families, law enforcement officials, medical professionals, or social service providers. Although previous research has identified common reasons for non-disclosure, little is known about why some victims may initially disclose the assault, but then cease to talk about the assault for prolonged periods of time. For many victims, negative reactions from support providers may silence them, halting disclosure for a significant period of time. To address this limitation in the literature, the current study examined periods of silence among rape victims who initially disclosed but then stopped disclosing for an average of seven years. Qualitative narratives from eight rape survivors who initially disclosed the assault within the first three days, received at least one negative social reaction, and stopped disclosing for at least nine months were selected from a larger sample of 102 rape survivors for further analysis. Qualitative analyses revealed three pathways to silence. Three survivors were silenced by blaming and insensitive reactions from formal support providers that heightened concerns about the effectiveness of disclosure and increased fears of negative reactions. Three survivors were silenced by inappropriate and ineffective support attempts by informal support providers that increased feelings of guilt and shame and led them to question the efficacy of disclosure. The remaining two survivors were silenced by both formal and informal support providers whose adherence to rape myths led these survivors to question whether their experiences qualified as rape. Further analysis suggested that negative reactions from support providers related to rape myths and stereotypes about "credible" assaults, "deserving" victims, and "appropriate" behavior. No matter how many stereotypical characteristics were met in a particular case, the violation of a single stereotype was sufficient for casting doubt on the legitimacy of victims' claims. When more than one stereotype was violated, the mismatch between victims' characters and stereotypes about "deserving" victims was the primary mechanism for discrediting victims."

 

19)

Article title: Coping With Threats to Just-World Beliefs: Derogate, Blame, or Help?

Journal title: Journal of Applied Social Psychology Find this in a library

Database to look in: Academic Search Premier

APA citation:

HAYNES, G. & OLSON, J. (2006). Coping With Threats to Just-World Beliefs: Derogate, Blame, or Help? Journal of Applied Social Psychology,36 (3), p664-682, 19p, 1 chart, 1 graph; DOI: 10.1111/j.0021-9029.2006.00023.x; (AN 20274147)

Quote:

"The present research investigated Lerner's (1970, 1980) just-world theory by manipulating victim-related factors in a scenario and measuring several possible strategies for dealing with the threat to participants' just-world beliefs created by the victim's intense suffering. Participants read a story about a victim who varied in terms of his character (likeable vs. unlikeable) and behavioral responsibility for causing his accident (high vs. low). The general pattern of results showed that for the unlikeable low-responsibility victim, the primary response to protect justice beliefs appeared to be character derogation; for the likeable high-responsibility victim, the primary protective strategy appeared to be blame; and for the likeable low-responsibility victim, the primary protective strategy appeared to be compensation."

20)

Article title: Victim characteristics and attribution of rape blame in Australia and South Africa.

Journal title: Journal-of-Social-Psychology Find this Journal in a library

Database to look in: Social Work Abstracts

APA citation:

Heaven, P-C-L, Connors, J., & Pretorius, A. (1998). Victim characteristics and attribution of rape blame in Australia and South Africa. Journal-of-Social-Psychology, 138(1): 131-33.

 

Quote:

"Several researchers from the United States and Britain have suggested that attributions of rape blame depend on the characteristics of the victim..The study results suggest that victim blame was not a function of victim characteristics but rather of the cultural group of the respondents."

 

Additional articles:

Bibliography of a victim blame article

McCaul, K. D., Veltum, L. G., Boyechko, V., & Crawford, J. J. (1990). Understanding attributions of victim blame for rape: Sex, violence, and forseeability. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 20, 1-26.

Hirschberger, G. (2006). Terror Management and Attributions of Blame to Innocent Victims: Reconciling Compassionate and Defensive Responses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology v. 91 no. 5 (November 2006) p. 832-44

This article discusses the logic of the just world theory and how it makes suffering make sense to people within the framework of their world.


Rye, B. J., et. al., (2006). The Case of the Guilty Victim: The Effects of Gender of Victim and Gender of Perpetrator on Attributions of Blame and Responsibility. Sex Roles v. 54 no. 9/10 (May 2006) p. 639-49

"There was an interaction of gender of perpetrator and gender of victim such that female victims were held less responsible and their perpetrators were judged more harshly, especially when the perpetrator was male. Male victims were held the most responsible, especially when the perpetrator was male."


Haynes, G. A., et. al., (2006). Coping With Threats to Just-World Beliefs: Derogate, Blame, or Help?. Journal of Applied Social Psychology v. 36 no. 3 ( p. 664-82

"The general pattern of results showed that for the unlikeable low-responsibility victim, the primary response to protect justice beliefs appeared to be character derogation; for the likeable high-responsibility victim, the primary protective strategy appeared to be blame; and for the likeable low-responsibility victim, the primary protective strategy appeared to be compensation. Implications for just-world theory are discussed."

To find these and further journal articles click here.

 

Online resources

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1)

http://www.scu.edu/ethics/publications/iie/v3n2/justworld.html

The Just World Theory

Author: Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez

Issues in Ethics - V. 3, N. 2 Spring 1990

Quote:

"The need to see victims as the recipients of their just deserts can be explained by what psychologists call the Just World Hypothesis. According to the hypothesis, people have a strong desire or need to believe that the world is an orderly, predictable, and just place, where people get what they deserve. Such a belief plays an important function in our lives since in order to plan our lives or achieve our goals we need to assume that our actions will have predictable consequences. Moreover, when we encounter evidence suggesting that the world is not just, we quickly act to restore justice by helping the victim or we persuade ourselves that no injustice has occurred. We either lend assistance or we decide that the rape victim must have asked for it, the homeless person is simply lazy, the fallen star must be an adulterer. "

2)

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_2001_August/ai_82782443

Beyond rape myths: A more complex view of perceptions of rape victims -

Author: Amy M. Buddie, Arthur G. Miller

Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, August, 2001

Quote:

"This research examined personal beliefs and perceptions of cultural stereotypes surrounding rape victims. Students (ages 18-21) at a primarily Caucasian University listed either their personal beliefs or their perceptions of cultural stereotypes surrounding rape victims and rated a specific rape victim either according to their personal beliefs or their perceptions of cultural stereotypes. Personal beliefs about rape victims tended to focus more on perceptions of victim reactions to the rape (e.g., depression, anxiety, etc.) rather than on rape myths (e.g., she asked for it, was promiscuous, etc.). Perceptions of cultural stereotypes, however, comprised rape myths rather than the victim reactions to rape. We propose that perceptions of rape victims are more multifaceted than has previously been suggested."

3)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=

1742238&dopt=Abstract

Victim blame and the disinhibition of sexual arousal to rape vignettes.


Author: Sundberg SL, Barbaree HE, Marshall WL.


Violence Vict. 1991 Summer;6(2):103-20.

Quote:

"The present study examined the effects of differing levels of victim blame on the sexual arousal of males to rape vignettes. In the first experiment, a between-subjects experimental design was used to compare four groups of eight university males for their erectile responses to vignettes rated as low, medium, and high along a victim blame continuum. All groups found a consenting vignette more arousing than a nonconsenting vignette, however, this difference was significantly smaller for subjects in the high blame condition compared to the low and medium blame conditions. A second experiment supported the disinhibiting effect of the high victim blame manipulation using 12 university males in a within-subjects experimental design. The disinhibiting influence of victim blame on male sexual arousal to rape cues was discussed in relation to our broader understanding of sexual assault."

4)

http://articles.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_2002_Sept/ai_96736804

But she was unfaithful: benevolent sexism and reactions to rape victims who violate traditional gender role expectations - Brief Report

Author: Viki G. Tendayi

Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, Sept, 2002

Quote:

"In the present research we examine victim blame in relation to different types of victims of acquaintance rape. In predicting victim blame, we consider the role of rape myth acceptance, but our main focus is on the role of benevolent sexist beliefs."

5)

http://www.inpsyte.ca/priceg.html

Non-Rational Guilt in Victims of Trauma

Author:Gail M. Price, Ph.D.

The author is associated with the Trauma Clinic at Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston, MA

Quote:

"The guilt many victims of physical and psychological trauma experience in response to their victimization often contains non-rational content which, when analyzed, is more appropriate to the perpetrator. This non-rational perpetrator guilt is imposed on the victim under two primary conditions: 1) attribution, in which the perpetrator disavows guilt and blames the victim for the victimization; and 2) terror, which results in the victim's rapid incorporation of essentially the entire world view of the perpetrator, including the perpetrator's guilt. Guilt results when some aspect of a moral system is transgressed. There are four aspects of a moral system reflecting different levels of guilt and four basic components of guilt within each level. The perpetrator's violation of one aspect of a moral system may be processed by the victim at the level of another aspect, making resolution difficult. Resolution involves careful analysis of the content of the guilt to enable the victim to identify its source."

6)

http://www.latebloomerpublishing.com/mr_smith.htm

The Rape of Mr. Smith


From
Borkenhagen, C. K. (1975). The Legal Bias Against Rape Victims (The Rape of Mr. Smith). American Bar Association Journal, 61. discussion.

Quote:

"The law discriminates against rape victims in a manner that would not be tolerated by victims of any other crime. In the following situation, a lawyer asks questions of a hold-up survivor."

7)

http://www.cambridgedocumentaryfilms.org/media/guides/RIdiscussion.pdf

Rape is...discussion guide

Quote:

"From a feminist perspective, the reason people are focused on the woman's responsibility is because it lets sexual coercers off the hook for their predatory behavior. If you can blame the victim, you don't have to take responsibility for your own actions. It is best to steer conversations away from this pitfall. Instead, ask, "How does this fit into the larger picture?" Part of the effort of this film is to look at the larger picture of rape, outside of the "he said, she said" debate. What does it mean that we try to hold the victim responsible for her rape? Does this mean we believe that women can't wear tank tops and short skirts? Does this mean we are saying women can't go out at night? Are we saying that anyone who goes to a bar and meets someone gets what he or she deserves? Are we saying that we don't have the right to drink and be safe from sexual assault and rape? Are we saying that being drunk is a form of consent?"

8)

http://www.northwestmedia.com/research/rape-i.pdf

Rape Prevention with College Males: The Roles of Victim Empathy, Rape Myth Acceptance, and Outcome Expectancies William O’Donohue, Ph.D., Matthew Fanetti

Quote:

"Irrational beliefs about women and sexuality (rape myths) such as "Women really want to be raped" and "If a man pays for a date then he is entitled to sex" cause men to rape. Finkelhor (1986) also suggests that the endorsement of rape myths act as a factor that reduces internal inhibitions to rape. In Pithers' (Hildebran & Pithers, 1992) model of sexual offending apparently irrelevant decisions and poor victim empathy (a cognitive-affective variable) contribute to sexual offending. McFall (1990, p. 318) has stated in his information processing model of rape: "This evidence paints the following portrait of sexually aggressive men. They enter heterosexual relationships holding distorted cognitive schemata that
predispose them to sexual misunderstandings and misguided actions. It is as though these men were 'primed' by their schemata to read positive sexual connotations into women's neutral or negative messages; to believe that women secretly wish to be victims of sexual coercion; to misinterpret women's refusals of sexual advances merely as coquettish acceptances; to dismiss women's physical resistance as a primeval sexual ritual; to misperceive women's cries of pain as squeals of pleasure; and to redefine any attempted rebuffs as proof that women are 'teases' who deserve whatever they get."

 

9)

http://www.radford.edu/~gstudies/speakers/currier/violence.htm

The Culture of Violence Against Women

Author: Dr. Danielle Currier

Quote:

"different forms of violence, the gendered nature of violence, cultural aspects of and variations in violence against women, and the things unique to a college campus that make it an environment in which violence against women is prevalent. Dr. Currier's presentation is part of the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Awareness Month activities. Sources and links listing these activities are indicated below Dr. Currier may contacted via Email at: dmcurrier@radford.edu " Includes a bibliography and online resources.

 

10)

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2294/is_2001_April/ai_79856432

Blaming the Target of Sexual Harassment: Impact of Gender Role, Sexist Attitudes, and Work Role - Statistical Data Included

Author: Margaret De Judicibus, Marita P. McCabe

Quote:

This study was conducted to examine factors associated with blaming the target of sexual harassment. Participants' experiences of sexual harassment, sexist attitudes, gender, gender role identity, age, worker or student status, and belief in a just world were included as independent variables. Level of blame was evaluated using a series of 12 vignettes that manipulated the gender of the target and harasser as well as the seriousness of the harassing behavior. The sample comprised 30 female and 32 male workers from two workplaces, whose ages ranged from 18 to 65 (M = 35) years, and 102 female and 18 male university students whose ages ranged from 17 to 40 (M = 21) years. Approximately 70% of the sample were from Anglo Australian background, and 30% from European, Middle Eastern or Asian background. Females experienced more sexual harassment than males did, although the male rate was higher than expected. Although the majority of subjects attributed little blame to the target, males blamed the target of sexual harassment more than females did, and workers blamed the target of harassment more than university students did. Worker status, sexist attitudes, and gender significantly predicted blame for the total sample. Gender-typing increased the blame of the target by males but not by females. Attribution of blame was significantly influenced by worker versus student status, which supports the social psychological perspective that gender-related behavior is context dependent. The findings from this study suggest that organisational culture and environment influence respondents' attitudes to sexually harassing behavior.

 

11)

An Investigation of the Relationship between Religiosity and Victim Blame in Cases of Sexual Assault

http://lmc246.tripod.com/

Author: LMC

Quote:

This study investigated the relationship between religiosity and tendencies toward victim blame in sexual assault cases. Thirty-two individuals were given surveys that included items measuring acceptance of rape myths, sex role stereotyping, and sexual conservatism. The survey also asked subjects to self-identify as either religious or non-religious. In the final analysis, ten subjects were in each condition, and the mean scores of each were compared using an independent-samples t-test. The results of this test, t(18)=.610, showed that the means were not significantly different when p<.05. Thus it could be concluded that both religious and non-religious individuals have similar victim blame propensities. However, insufficient sample size and a relatively undiversified sample could have been the cause of these insignificant results.


Online Popular Resources

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1)

http://koti.mbnet.fi/neptunia/essays/sgblame1.htm

Author: Anyara 2003

Quote:

"Perhaps we can't see the victim as innocent, because by so doing we would have to admit that similar things might happen even to us. We blame the victim in order to feel more in control. "

2)

http://people.morehead-st.edu/students/ar/aeruck01/culturalrapemyths.html

Cultural rape myths from survivors emerging

Author: Astrid

Quote:

"we have the right to live our lives without threat of harm. The fact that women find this to nearly impossible must be changed. We face this fear every time we leave our homes. We will find our empowerment when we can place the blame where it belongs-"

3)

http://www.fair.org/extra/best-of-extra/rape-blame.html

Rape Coverage: Shifting the Blame

Author: Laura Flanders

Quote:

"Rape, and in particular acquaintance rape, has become something of a human interest story-of-choice for mainstream newspaper editors recently. But more coverage has usually not meant better. ...Instead of hearing the cries of survivors, the press is hearing the complaints of apologists; instead of condemning cruelty, the press promotes excuses."

4)

http://www.feminista.com/archives/v2n1/aaron.html

Dont blame victim of sexual violence

Author: Ron Aaron

Quote:

"Failing to lock doors and windows or going out alone at night doesn't cause rape. Indeed, it's not her responsibility to prevent rape. It's his obligation to stop doing it. "

5)

http://www.feminist.com/resources/ourbodies/viol_blame.html

Blaming the Victim

Author: Boston Women's Health Book Collective

Quote:

"The most common emotional responses to sexual harassment, battering, and rape are guilt, fear, powerlessness, shame, betrayal, anger, and denial. Guilt is often the first and deepest response."

6)

Online Resources

http://www.feminista.com/archives/v2n1/aaron.html

Victim Blame- "the extraordinary focus on what women should do to prevent rape reinforces one of the most troubling myths about rape, that victims not perpetrators are responsible for sexual assault. That's simply not true."

7)


http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/facts.htm

Victims of sexual assault often share some blame for the assault.

False. Adult and child victims of sexual abuse are never to blame for the assault, regardless of their behavior. Because of the age difference, children are unable to legally consent to sexual acts. They are often made to feel like willing participants, which further contributes to their shame and guilt.

8)

Victims blame themselves, but "it's never their fault"

By Bibbi Seidel, Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/17/06

""They'll say it was their short skirt or how they looked," Altieri says. "But you can totally debunk that myth by looking at the victims. We have elderly victims. We have very, very young victims — 3-month-old babies being raped.

"It's never their fault. Never," Altieri says."


Books

Raine, N. (1998). After Silence: Rape and My Journey Back. New York: Crown Publications, Inc., .

Reviews available from amazon Find this in a library

Professional Review:

"Very soon after she was raped, Raine discovers that talking about the rape--even to her closest friends and family--was "dangerous." Throughout the book, Raine describes how she negotiates the mine-field of others' resistance, and she reflects on how their resistance impacted her. This focus allows for a deep and insightful appreciation of how our cultural myths about women and rape work to marginalize survivors' speech and, as a result, dramatically impede the healing process. She succinctly and powerfully sums up this dilemma, "Other people's embarrassment or discomfort makes me feel as if I were the rapist's co-criminal, an accomplice who is 'confessing' something ... everyone keeps saying I need to 'come to terms' 'integrate' the rape into my life. [How] can I come to terms if the terms are not shared?" (pp. 212-213)." Cosgrove, Lisa PhD

 

For further online resources on victim blame and rape click here. Type in "victim blame and rape or sexual assault". (no quotation marks)

Search terms: Just world theory, invulnerability, invulnerable, self blame, victim blame, rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, effective treatment interventions; Guilt; *Interpersonal Interaction; *Life Satisfaction; *Self Defeating Behavior; victims of war; political oppression; torture; cultural variable, Refugees, Torture, Treatment, Victimization, War; Sociocultural Factors

Library of congress search terms:

Blame--Social aspects--United States., Victims--Psychology., Social justice--United States.
Social justice--Europe., Distributive justice--United States., Distributive justice--Europe.
Welfare economics., Poverty--Public opinion., United States--Social policy--Moral and ethical aspects.
Europe--Social policy--Moral and ethical aspects.

For search terms (words to enter into databases or google) for victim blame see this page.

Testimonials of victim blame experiences

 

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Search terms: rape crisis

Related links: Victim blame

References:

Macdonalds, J. (2004). World Book Encyclopedia. United States of America: World Book Inc.

rape. (2006). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved May 2, 2006, from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?tocId=9376486

Smith, M. D. (2004). Encyclopedia of Rape. USA: Greenwood Press.

Sedney, M., "rape (crime)." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Scholastic Library Publishing, 2006 <http://gme.grolier.com> (February 1, 2006).

 

 

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