The Effects of Victim’s Substance Use and Relationship Closeness on Mock Jurors’ Judgments in an Acquaintance Rape Case
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- Wenger, A.A. & Bornstein, B.H. Sex Roles (2006) 54: 547. doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9014-2
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Previous research has demonstrated that jurors perceive a female victim who is drunk at the time when she is sexually assaulted as less credible and more deserving of such punishment than a sober victim. In this experiment, we investigated the effect of an alleged acquaintance rape victim’s type of substance use and closeness of relationship with the defendant on the judgments of 152 student mock jurors. Participants read a case summary and answered a series of questions about their impressions of the actors and actions involved in the case. Participants perceived a victim who was sober at the time of the incident as more credible than a victim who was intoxicated due to illegal substance use (alcohol or LSD), and convictions were also most likely when the victim was sober. Women perceived the victim as more credible than men did. Higher victim credibility judgments were associated with less rape myth acceptance (RMA) on the part of participants.