The Effects of Victim’s Substance Use and Relationship Closeness on Mock Jurors’ Judgments in an Acquaintance Rape Case
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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.
KeywordsJuries Rape Substance use
We thank Dick Dienstbier for his helpful comments and advice on the project. This article is based on an honors thesis conducted by the first author, under supervision of the second author. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2004 meeting of the American Psychology-Law Society in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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