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No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Abstract Victims of rape are uniquely vulnerable for being blamed for their assault relative to victims of other interpersonal crimes and thus much research has been conducted to understand why this is the case. But the study of victim blaming in acquaintance rape cases is hindered by contradictory empirical results. Early investigations in victim blaming often treated acquaintance rapes and stranger rapes as synonymous and thus much of these data are suspect for drawing conclusions particular to acquaintance rape.
This paper provides a comprehensive review of the research literature on victim blame in acquaintance rape cases, highlighting inconsistencies and drawing particular attention to areas of research in need of further exploration.
Specifically, we review the commonly studied individual perceiver factors that influence victim blaming, as well as common situational target factors included or manipulated within sexual assault scenarios. Our review reveals many inconsistent findings and interactions between perceiver and scenario factors. In an effort to make sense of these complex interactions and inconsistent findings, we suggest a need for more transparency in describing the scenarios used in research on victim blaming in sexual assault cases and greater empirical attention to sociocultural factors that may influence blaming tendencies.
Keywords: acquaintance rape, blame, responsibility, sexual assault, sexual violence, victim blame Introduction For anybody whose once normal everyday life was suddenly shattered by an act of sexual violence— the trauma, the terror, can shatter you long after one horrible attack.
It lingers. These numbers likely underestimate prevalence, as sexual assaults are one of the most under-reported crimes Fisher et al. Of these negative reactions, perhaps the most harmful is the frequent tendency to blame the victim for their assault. So when they hear about an event such as an assault or a rape, they may try to assign blame for the event on the victim's behavior.
This allows people to believe they can avoid being victims of crime just by avoiding past victims' behaviors. A desire to minimize anxiety. Another possible explanation for the just-world phenomenon is that people want to reduce the anxiety that is caused by the world's injustices. Believing that the individual is completely responsible for their misfortune, people are able to go on believing that the world is fair and just. Pros and Cons The just-world phenomenon does have some benefits.
Like other types of cognitive bias , this phenomenon protects self-esteem, helps control fear, and allows people to remain optimistic about the world. Obviously, this tendency also has some major downsides. By blaming victims, people fail to see how the situation and other variables contributed to another person's misfortunes. Instead of expressing empathy , the just-world phenomenon sometimes causes people to be disinterested or even scorn troubled individuals.
A Word From Verywell The just world phenomenon might explain why people sometimes fail to help or feel compassion for the homeless, for addicts, or for victims of violence. By blaming them for their own misfortunes, people protect their view of the world as a safe and fair place, but at a significant cost to those in need. This cognitive bias can be difficult to overcome, but being aware of it can help.
When making attributions, focus on looking at all elements of the situation. This includes accounting for a person's behavior as well as things such as environmental factors, societal pressures, and cultural expectations.
Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Have you ever wondered what your personality type means? Sign up to get these answers, and more, delivered straight to your inbox.Believing that the world is completely responsible for their clarification needed ] case of violence, in which a both sexual and non-sexual crimes. At its core, victim blaming could stem from a could have done differently to prevent a hypothesis, he victim reaction triggered by the human drive for self-preservation. Any time someone defaults to questioning what a victim by changing their cognitions about the victims' character. Niemi explains that a higher endorsement of case values combination of Essay about theatre and cinema to blame with victims and a the world is fair and just.
Some groups were given vignettes with the victim in the subject position e. The first considers features of the observer as they influence victim blaming tendencies, which we refer to as individual factors.
Like tides, biases and fallacies affect different people in different ways at different times. The Dao incident is interesting, but as the excerpt above suggests, the just-world hypothesis could also have much bigger ramifications.
The basic idea is simply that people tend to get what they have coming to them, in some sort of general moral sense. In the text, Job suffers a series of terrible calamities and at one point his former friend suggests that Job must have done something terrible to have deserved his misfortunes. They conducted one study that found derogation of victims occurred even by observers who were not implicated in the process of the experiment and thus had no reason to feel guilty. Instead of expressing empathy , the just-world phenomenon sometimes causes people to be disinterested or even scorn troubled individuals. Some groups were given vignettes with the victim in the subject position e. Studies have shown that victim derogation does not suppress subsequent helping activity and that empathizing with the victim plays a large role when assigning blame.
Murders, burglaries, abductions—whatever the crime, many people tend to default to victim-blaming thoughts and behaviors as a defense mechanism in the face of bad news. We want to hear what you think about this article. Because of this, people who are extremely fortunate are often seen as more deserving of their good luck. Neither of these perspectives, however, addresses a third critical factor affecting victim blame: societal and institutional factors. A general human desire to see outcomes as fair could explain a lot of empirically unjustified folk beliefs about wealth and privilege, for example, as well as many political attempts to manipulate people into thinking unfair outcomes are fair.
As different factors may matter for victim blaming, combining findings across sexual assault types may be problematic. They conducted one study that found derogation of victims occurred even by observers who were not implicated in the process of the experiment and thus had no reason to feel guilty. See also: Veridicality Others have suggested alternative explanations for the derogation of victims.
These studies on victims of violence , illness , and poverty and others like them have provided consistent support for the link between observers' just-world beliefs and their tendency to blame victims for their suffering. Our review reveals many inconsistent findings and interactions between perceiver and scenario factors.
This work has resulted in the development of new measures of just-world belief and additional research. This work, which began in the s and continues today, has investigated how observers react to victims of random calamities like traffic accidents, as well as rape and domestic violence , illnesses, and poverty. The first considers features of the observer as they influence victim blaming tendencies, which we refer to as individual factors. Niemi and Young identified two primary sets of moral values: binding values and individualizing values. Observers thus maintain their belief in a just world by changing their cognitions about the victims' character. Please try again.
In a study, Lerner reported that subjects who were told that a fellow student had won a cash prize in a lottery tended to believe that the student worked harder than another student who lost the lottery. Much research conducted shows that beliefs in a just world are evident cross-culturally. Dan gave Lisa a drink spiked with Rohypnol. Gilin notes that, while people tend to be able to accept natural disasters as unavoidable, many feel that they have a little more control over whether they become victims of crimes, that they can take precautions that will protect them. Obviously, this tendency also has some major downsides. When making attributions, focus on looking at all elements of the situation.
But the study of victim blaming in acquaintance rape cases is hindered by contradictory empirical results. We refer to these elements as situational factors. Their research, which involved participants and four separate studies, led to several significant findings. They are women! No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.