Blaming the victim : the role of assault characteristics and victim attractiveness
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The current study examined the effect of rape stereotypicality (stereotypical rape vs. non-stereotypical rape) and victim attractiveness on victim blame attributions and encouragement of formal reporting while controlling for individual difference variables (i.e., rape myth acceptance, victim empathy, victimization history, and disclosure receipt history). Participants in the final sample for this study comprised 354 undergraduate students from introductory psychology classes at a Midwestern university and 283 individuals from Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk site. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that both undergraduate and Mechanical Turk participants assigned greater blame to victims of nonstereotypical (vs. stereotypical) rape. Undergraduate, but not Mechanical Turk participants, assigned greater blame to unattractive (vs. attractive) victims. Victim attractiveness did not moderate the relation between rape stereotypicality and victim blame in either sample. Rape myth acceptance was also associated with greater blame in the undergraduate sample; other control variables did not influence blame in either sample.