Historically, many studies have examined rape victim blaming among various observers, using a vignette methodology in which victim characteristics were manipulated. However, a gap in the research concerns a clear distinction between victim and observer characteristics and its separate influence on rape victim blaming. The current paper explores this distinction by examining the victim characteristics of gender, sexuality, degree of resistance exhibited, and victim–perpetrator relationship, as well as the observer characteristics of gender, professional status, gender role attitudes, and rape myth acceptance in relation to rape victim blame. Findings indicate that these variables have significant effects on rape blame attribution. A number of theoretical standpoints including the Just World Theory, Defensive Attribution Hypothesis, and notion of Homophobia are discussed in relation to the findings with the aim of enabling interpretation of the results. The limitations associated with the vignette methodology are also identified and discussed, along with reference to the development of newer methodologies and their contribution to the field.
Bibliographical noteNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Aggression and Violent Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published DOI 10.1016/j.avb.2014.07.008
- Rape blame attribution
- Sexual assault
- Victim/observer characteristics