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Title: Attitudes towards rape as a function of the victim's gender and sexual orientation
Author: Davies, Michelle
ISNI:       0000 0001 2413 4802
Awarding Body: University of Central Lancashire
Current Institution: University of Central Lancashire
Date of Award: 2002
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It is well documented that female rape victims are blamed to some extent for their assault. However, there is a lack of research investigating attitudes towards other types of sexual assault, such as sexual assaults on adult males, or sexual assaults committed by women. This thesis aimed to extend research by investigating judgements of sexual assault when victim gender, sexual orientation, and perpetrator gender were varied. Study I investigated judgements of victim blame and perceived severity of the assault towards victims of male perpetrators in a depicted stranger rape. Results revealed that men made more negative judgements towards gay male victims than other victim groups. Study 2 extended this work by investigating judgements towards male victims when perpetrator gender was varied in a depicted sexual assault between acquaintances. Results showed that men made more negative judgements of the victim when he was either a gay male assaulted by a man or a heterosexual victim assaulted by a woman. Study 3 partially supported the findings of Study 2, such that male victims were more negatively evaluated when sexually assaulted by a female acquaintance, although there were no significant sexual orientation effects in this study. Study 3 also found attributions towards female victims were not affected by perpetrator gender. Study 4 investigated judgements towards male and female victims of a drug related sexual assault. This study also used trait adjective scales to investigate character assessments of the victim and perpetrator. Results were consistent with the previous studies, such that heterosexual male victims of female perpetrators were judged more negatively than other victims were. In addition, female perpetrators were attributed more positive character assessments than male perpetrators were. Study 5 investigated attitudinal correlates of judgements towards male and female victims of a drug related sexual assault. Results showed that homophobia, hostile sexism and attitudes towards male toughness correlated with judgements towards gay male victims of male perpetrators, heterosexual male victims of female perpetrators and heterosexual female victims regardless of perpetrator gender. Results are discussed in relation to the application of traditional gender role beliefs, defensive attributions, and empathy towards specific victim groups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: C800 - Psychology