Great Sexpectations: The Impact of Participant Gender, Defendant Desirability, and Date Cost on Attributions of a Date Rape Victim and Defendant

Kellie R. Lynch, Jenna A. Jewell, Nesa E. Wasarhaley, Jonathan M. Golding, Claire M. Renzetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

We investigated the effect of the desirability of the defendant and the cost of a date on how participants assigned blame in a date rape context. Community participants (N = 211) read one of four date rape trial summaries that differed based on the two manipulated independent variables: the desirability of the defendant (i.e., high vs. low desirability) and the cost of the date (i.e., expensive [US$175] vs. inexpensive [US$30]). Participants then rated the victim and defendant on various attributes related to the trial (credibility, blame, and guilt) and post-date sexual behavior (expectations, want, and deservingness of sex). Overall, men viewed the victim more negatively and the defendant more positively than women. Participants in the high defendant desirability condition also viewed the victim as having higher want of sex following the date and rated the defendant as more credible. With regard to the cost of date manipulation, men viewed the defendant as more credible when a desirable defendant paid for an inexpensive date in comparison with an undesirable defendant. However, when the date was expensive, women viewed the desirable defendant as more credible than the undesirable defendant. Finally, we also found that participants’ perceptions of the victim’s expectations and want for sex and the defendant’s deservingness for sex mediated the effects of participant gender and defendant desirability on victim and defendant blame.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3437-3461
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Volume35
Issue number17-18
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

Keywords

  • cultural contexts
  • date rape
  • dating violence
  • domestic violence
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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