Judgments of sexual assault: the impact of complainant emotional demeanor, gender and victim stereotypes

Schuller, Regina A., McKimmie, Blake M., Masser, Barbara M. and Klippenstine, Marc A. (2010) Judgments of sexual assault: the impact of complainant emotional demeanor, gender and victim stereotypes. New Criminal Law Review, 13 4: 759-780. doi:10.1525/nclr.2010.13.4.759

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Author Schuller, Regina A.
McKimmie, Blake M.
Masser, Barbara M.
Klippenstine, Marc A.
Title Judgments of sexual assault: the impact of complainant emotional demeanor, gender and victim stereotypes
Journal name New Criminal Law Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1933-4192
1933-4206
Publication date 2010-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1525/nclr.2010.13.4.759
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 13
Issue 4
Start page 759
End page 780
Total pages 22
Place of publication Berkeley, CA, United States
Publisher University of California Press
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The sexual assault victim "who comes to the attention of the authorities has her victimization measured against the current rape mythologies" (R v. Seaboyer, 1991). This is particularly troubling given that lay beliefs regarding the crime of sexual assault are at odds with the data documenting the circumstances surrounding actual rape. Research has consistently demonstrated that lay people (hence, jurors) will question the validity of a sexual assault claim and judge the victim more harshly, if the circumstances surrounding the assault and/or the characteristics and actions of the sexual assault complainant do not comport with people's expectations about the event. In this paper we report the results of a juror simulation that examines the impact of victim's postassault emotional demeanor on judgments, in the context of independent manipulations of gender stereotypicality and victim stereotypicality. Results revealed that the complainant's emotional display had a powerful impact on participants' judgments, with the claim viewed as more valid when the complainant was portrayed as tearful/upset as opposed to calm/controlled, but only when the complainant was portrayed as gender stereotypic.

Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Posted online on November 16, 2010.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Created: Wed, 17 Nov 2010, 01:22:58 EST by Dr Barbara Masser on behalf of School of Psychology