Journal of Family Violence

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 267–278 | Cite as

Undergraduate students' perceptions of child sexual abuse: The impact of victim sex, perpetrator sex, respondent sex, and victim response

  • Sylvia Broussard
  • William G. Wagner
  • Richard Kazelskis


Written descriptions of sexual interaction between an adult and. a 15-year-old were utilized to study the impact of victim sex, perpetrator sex, respondent sex, and victim response (i.e., encouraging, passive, resisting) on labeling of child sexual abuse, perception of realistic victim behavior, and effect on the child. Results of responses collected from 180 male and 180 female undergraduate students revealed that participants tended to view the interaction of a male victim with a female perpetrator as less representative of child sexual abuse. Respondents also thought that male victims of this interactional pattern would experience less harm than would victims of other interactional types (e.g., female victim-male perpetrator). Findings are discussed with regard to their generalizability and the need for child sexual abuse education programs.

Key words

child sexual abuse definition impact victim perpetrator 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sylvia Broussard
    • 1
  • William G. Wagner
    • 1
  • Richard Kazelskis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Counseling PsychologyUniversity of Southern MississippiHattiesburg

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