Rogers, Paul, Davies, Michelle and Cottam, Lisa J
Perpetrator coercion, victim resistance and respondent gender: their impact on blame attributions in a hypothetical child sexual abuse case.
Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2
This study investigates the impact that perpetrator coercion type, victim resistance type and respondent gender have on attributions of blame in a hypothetical child sexual abuse case. A total of 366 respondents read a hypothetical scenario describing the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl by a 39-year-old man, before completing 21 attribution items relating to victim blame, perpetrator blame, the blaming of the victim's (non-offending) parents, and assault severity. Overall, men judged the assault more serious when the perpetrator used physical force as opposed to verbal threat or misrepresented play as a coercive act. Men also deemed the victim's non-offending parents more culpable when the victim offered no resistance, rather than physical or verbal resistance. Women judged the assault equally severe regardless of coercion type, although they did rate the victim's family more culpable when the victim offered verbal rather than physical resistance. Implications and ideas for future work are discussed.