The research is part of the doctoral dissertation of the first author. We acknowledge Bruce Goldstein, Martin Greenberg, Maureen McHugh, and Esther Sales for their thoughtful comments and feedback.
Examining Rape Empathy From the Perspective of the Victim and the Assailant1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 33, Issue 3, pages 476–498, March 2003
How to Cite
Smith, C. A. and Frieze, I. H. (2003), Examining Rape Empathy From the Perspective of the Victim and the Assailant. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 33: 476–498. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2003.tb01907.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Two studies using college student samples were conducted to establish reliability and validity for new scales measuring rape victim empathy and rape perpetrator empathy separately. In Experiment 1, two 13-item measures of rape empathy were developed. Variables examined for purposes of construct validity included personal sexual assault experience, general empathy, and perceived rape victim responsibility. In Experiment 2, we added 5 new items to each scale. The final scales were two 18-item measures with high reliability. Variables examined in Experiment 2 included personal sexual assault, general empathy, and acquaintanceship with a victim or a perpetrator. Both studies found gender differences for empathy scores, with women tending to be higher on rape victim empathy, and men tending to be higher on rape perpetrator empathy. Personal sexual experience was related to rape empathy scores. Perceived victim responsibility was negatively correlated with rape victim empathy and positively correlated with rape perpetrator empathy.