He Said/She Said: The Effects of Victim Resistance and Perpetrator Reaction on Attributions and Responsibility on Date Rape

Ellen S. Cohn, University of New Hampshire
Tiffany Brown, The Bowling Green State University

ABSTRACT
Different factors affect how people attribute victim and perpetrator blame in date rape scenarios. The first purpose of the present study is to determine if the kind of resistance the woman uses will affect the amount of responsibility attributed to the female victim and the male perpetrator. The second purpose is to determine if the male perpetrator's response to the resistance affects the amount of responsibility attributed to the female victim and the male perpetrator. Participants were 204 undergraduates (129 women, 75 men) who watched one of seven videos which varied the kind of resistance shown by the victim (verbal, physical, verbal and physical, none) and the reaction of the perpetrator (anger, none). Then they answered two scales which assessed attributions of responsibility to the victim and the perpetrator. The perpetrator was held significantly less responsible when the victim did not resist and the perpetrator did not react. The perpetrator was held significantly more responsible when he reacted in an angry way at the victim and she resisted verbally, physically or both verbally and physically or when the victim resisted verbally without a reaction from the perpetrator. Men held the victim more responsible for the rape than did women.

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Updated 05/20/2006