, Volume 47, Issue 5-6, pp 289-293

But She Was Unfaithful: Benevolent Sexism and Reactions to Rape Victims Who Violate Traditional Gender Role Expectations

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The role of benevolent sexism (BS) in accounting for victim blame in an acquaintance rape case was investigated. Participants were presented with vignettes that described an acquaintance rape. Control condition participants were given no descriptive information about the victim, whereas in the “cheating” condition the victim was described as a “married woman.” As predicted, participants who scored high in BS attributed more blame to the acquaintance rape victim who was assaulted during an act of infidelity than to a victim in similar circumstances whose marital status was unknown. These findings complement those of other research (Abrams, Viki, Masser, & Bohner, in press), which indicate that individuals high in BS are more likely to react negatively to rape victims who can be viewed as violating social norms concerning appropriate conduct for women.