Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 191-200

First online:

The Effect of Participant Sex, Victim Dress, and Traditional Attitudes on Causal Judgments for Marital Rape Victims

  • Mark A. WhatleyAffiliated withValdosta State UniversityDepartment of Psychology, Valdosta State University Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


This study investigated the effects of participant sex, victim dress, and attitudes influencing the tendency to blame a marital rape victim. College undergraduates completed the Attitudes toward Marriage Scale, an intervening cognitive task, and a read fictitious scenario of a marital rape incident where the victim was dressed somberly or seductively. Participants then completed a brief questionnaire. As predicted, males rated the victim more deserving of the attack than females. As predicted, the suggestively dressed victim was rated more responsible and deserving than the somberly dressed victim. As predicted, participants holding more traditional attitudes toward marriage were more likely to assign more victim responsibility and deservingness than participants with more egalitarian attitudes. These findings are discussed within an attitudinal framework.


attitudes rape marital relationships victim responsibility victim dress