Schema-driven information processing in judgements about rape



Two studies addressed the impact of rape schemata on judgements about rape cases. In Study 1, 286 undergraduate students rated perpetrator and victim blame for five rape scenarios and completed the Perceived Causes of Rape Scale. Most blame was assigned to victims of an ex-partner rape, followed by acquaintance and stranger rape. Least blame was assigned to perpetrators of ex-partner rapes, followed by acquaintance and stranger rapes. Female precipitation beliefs increased victim blame and reduced perpetrator blame. In Study 2, 158 students rated rape scenarios that varied in victim perpetrator relationship and coercive strategy and completed a measure of Female Precipitation Beliefs. Half expected to be held accountable for their judgements. The perpetrator was held less liable and the victim blamed more when the perpetrator exploited the victim's incapacitated state versus using physical force. Accountability instruction reduced the impact of female precipitation beliefs on perceived perpetrator liability and victim blame. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.