Date of Award

6-2023

Document Type

Open Access

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Conor O'Dea

Language

English

Keywords

victim blame, rape myths, masculine honor beliefs, just world beliefs.

Abstract

Previous research has demonstrated the relationship between masculine honor and just world beliefs on victim blaming of sexual assault victims. However, little research has investigated the specific reasons for that blame, nor how these reasons differ for male versus female victims. As such, we sought to examine how participants with higher levels of masculine honor beliefs and just world beliefs would respond to a news story depicting a sexual assault of either a male or female victim. Based on prior research on rape myths, participants read the news story and described what they had read, followed by items assessing the degree to which participants blamed the victim in the story on the basis of promiscuity and weakness, as well as overall deserving. We hypothesized that participants higher in both masculine honor and just world ideologies would have greater victim blaming than those lower in these belief systems. Furthermore, we hypothesized that the male victim would be blamed more based on being perceived as weak, and as acting like he desired sex, while the female victim would be blamed more based on being perceived as promiscuous in appearance and behavior, and acting like she desired sex. Consistent with our hypotheses, masculine honor beliefs and just world beliefs predicted victim blaming across all dimensions assessed. It was also consistent with our hypotheses that the male victim was blamed more for perceptions of weakness, while the female victim was blamed for a promiscuous appearance. We hope that this research can be used to educate against victim blaming and perpetuation of rape myths, as well as to continue research on the effects of dominant ideologies.

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Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.