Traditionalism and victim blaming

Richard B. Felson, Christopher C. Palmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A common claim is that rape victims are blamed for the crime because they have violated gender roles. We tested this idea by examining whether the relationship between traditional attitudes about gender roles and victim blaming is observed when the victim’s gender role violation is not followed by rape. We also examined whether participants with traditional attitudes about casual sex were more likely to engage in victim blaming than their “liberal” counterparts. College students (Study 1: N = 348; Study 2: N = 239) were presented with vignettes that ended in either rape, robbery, assault, homicide, or accident, or had no outcome. Participants with traditional attitudes about gender roles did not assign more blame to victims than liberal participants unless the victim’s behavior was followed by rape. In contrast, participants with traditional attitudes about casual sex were more likely to blame victims regardless of the outcome. The pattern suggests that the relationship between traditional attitudes about gender roles and victim blaming is not be due to the victim’s violation of gender roles. In addition, victim blaming is due, in part, to the negative attitudes of some students to casual sex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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