Effects of Attire, Alcohol, and Gender on Perceptions of Date Rape
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This investigation explored three categories of college students’ perceptions of sexual assault: perceptions of similarity to vignette characters, perceptions of vignette characters’ sexual intent, and victim-blaming behaviors, using a convenience sample of 652 U.S. undergraduates and an on-line factorial survey containing a two-part heterosexual date rape vignette. This investigation predicted that vignette character attire, character alcohol use, and participant gender would each significantly influence perceptions in all three categories. Strong associations appeared between all three experimental variables and perceptions, with characters that wore suggestive attire or became intoxicated perceived as less similar and having greater sexual intent than characters that wore neutral attire or abstained. Few differences in actual victim-blaming appeared, likely because of the elimination of hindsight bias.
KeywordsDate rape Victim perception Factorial vignette
This work was funded by a Student–Faculty Collaborative Research Grant from Georgia Southern University. The authors would like to thank Megan Donecker, ShaTara Jackson, Crystal Martin, and Dr. Lori Amy for their help on this project. The authors would also like to thank the editor and two reviewers for their feedback and suggestions. Portions of this paper were previously presented at the 2006 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, Asheville, NC, and the 2006 National Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Minneapolis, MN.
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