Is a Rape Victim Blameworthy? Identifying the Effect of Inducing Similarity on Victim Blame Characteristics

Erin Peatey (2010). Is a Rape Victim Blameworthy? Identifying the Effect of Inducing Similarity on Victim Blame Characteristics Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Erin Peatey
Thesis Title Is a Rape Victim Blameworthy? Identifying the Effect of Inducing Similarity on Victim Blame Characteristics
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2010
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Masser, Barbara M.
Total pages 98
Abstract/Summary In 2005, more than 44,000 individuals were victims of sexual assault in the 12 months leading up to the survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2005. Rape is a huge problem within society and often, due to feelings of fear and embarrassment about what people may think of them according to rape myths, the crime is highly underreported. Previous research has shown that there is a relationship between similarity and empathy on attributions of victim blame. The current study aims to reduce blame in situations of acquantance rape through similarity and empathy. Two studies were designed and administered to female University of Queensland students. Study 1 found complimenting results to previous research that similiarity increased feelings of empathy and in turn reduced blame, while showing an increase in perpetrator blame. Study 2 introduced a manipulation of similarity and it was predicted that those primed with similarity would show blaming patterns similar to the first study. Measures of vulnerability and personal self-esteem were also collected. Results of the studies will be discussed in terms of the Just World Theory. Inducing the 'right' kind of empathy is important when dealing with rape where there is no ambiguity that rape has occurred, as this may create a more fair trial for the victim. Further research into the nature of similarity is needed to identify what it is that participants really identify with, is it similarity to the experience, or similarity to the character of the victim?

 
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Created: Tue, 05 Apr 2011, 16:59:52 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology