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Effects of victim gender, victim sexual orientation, victim response and respondent gender on judgements of blame in a hypothetical adolescent rape


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Michelle Davies, School of Psychology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire PR1 2HE, UK (e-mail:


Objectives. Few studies have examined the judgements made towards adolescent rape victims, and none have investigated attributions towards gay male or lesbian adolescents. The current study examined the effects victim gender, victim sexual orientation, victim response, and respondent gender, on attributions of blame in the depicted rape of a 15-year old adolescent.

Methods. A total of 164 respondents read details of this assault before completing 15 attribution judgments.

Results. Respondents were expected to attribute more blame to a victim who was male, gay, and who failed to resist the perpetrator. Male respondents were also expected to be more blaming of the victim than females. Overall these hypotheses were supported.

Conclusion. Results are discussed in relation to the role gender stereotypes and homophobia play within attributions blame in sexual assault cases. Specifically, it seems male adolescent rape victims are subjected to the same negative stereotypes as male adult victims. Implications and ideas for future research are considered.