An experimental investigation of the perceived credibility of complainants of sexual revictimization: Disbelief and victim-blame

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Abstract

This study investigated whether attitudes towards a complainant of sexual assault are affected by the knowledge that the complainant had previously made a similar allegation. This was a 3 (previous allegation; none, child sexual assault or adult sexual assault) X 2 (whether the previous allegation was substantiated) X 2 (the implied mental health status of the complainant; mental health issue vs none) multifactorial, experimental study, employing independent-measures and hypothetical vignettes depicting stranger rape scenarios. The dependent variables were victim-blame and believability. The participants were 243 female undergraduate students. A MANOVA revealed several main and interactive effects. Allegations of sexual revictimization were associated with different levels of victim-blame and believability depending on when the previous assault occurred. A history of childhood sexual assault reduced the believability of the complainant and when combined with other factors increased the tendency to attribute victim-blame.


LanguageEnglish
JournalViolence and Victims
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Jul 2019

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assault
credibility
Mental Health
Rape
Health Status
Students
mental health
rape
health status
childhood
scenario
student

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title = "An experimental investigation of the perceived credibility of complainants of sexual revictimization: Disbelief and victim-blame",
abstract = "This study investigated whether attitudes towards a complainant of sexual assault are affected by the knowledge that the complainant had previously made a similar allegation. This was a 3 (previous allegation; none, child sexual assault or adult sexual assault) X 2 (whether the previous allegation was substantiated) X 2 (the implied mental health status of the complainant; mental health issue vs none) multifactorial, experimental study, employing independent-measures and hypothetical vignettes depicting stranger rape scenarios. The dependent variables were victim-blame and believability. The participants were 243 female undergraduate students. A MANOVA revealed several main and interactive effects. Allegations of sexual revictimization were associated with different levels of victim-blame and believability depending on when the previous assault occurred. A history of childhood sexual assault reduced the believability of the complainant and when combined with other factors increased the tendency to attribute victim-blame.",
keywords = "rape complainant, sexual revictimization, child sexual assault, victim-blame, false allegation",
author = "Nadia Wager",
year = "2019",
month = "7",
day = "18",
language = "English",
journal = "Violence and Victims",
issn = "0886-6708",
publisher = "Springer Publishing Company",

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TY - JOUR

T1 - An experimental investigation of the perceived credibility of complainants of sexual revictimization

T2 - Violence and Victims

AU - Wager, Nadia

PY - 2019/7/18

Y1 - 2019/7/18

N2 - This study investigated whether attitudes towards a complainant of sexual assault are affected by the knowledge that the complainant had previously made a similar allegation. This was a 3 (previous allegation; none, child sexual assault or adult sexual assault) X 2 (whether the previous allegation was substantiated) X 2 (the implied mental health status of the complainant; mental health issue vs none) multifactorial, experimental study, employing independent-measures and hypothetical vignettes depicting stranger rape scenarios. The dependent variables were victim-blame and believability. The participants were 243 female undergraduate students. A MANOVA revealed several main and interactive effects. Allegations of sexual revictimization were associated with different levels of victim-blame and believability depending on when the previous assault occurred. A history of childhood sexual assault reduced the believability of the complainant and when combined with other factors increased the tendency to attribute victim-blame.

AB - This study investigated whether attitudes towards a complainant of sexual assault are affected by the knowledge that the complainant had previously made a similar allegation. This was a 3 (previous allegation; none, child sexual assault or adult sexual assault) X 2 (whether the previous allegation was substantiated) X 2 (the implied mental health status of the complainant; mental health issue vs none) multifactorial, experimental study, employing independent-measures and hypothetical vignettes depicting stranger rape scenarios. The dependent variables were victim-blame and believability. The participants were 243 female undergraduate students. A MANOVA revealed several main and interactive effects. Allegations of sexual revictimization were associated with different levels of victim-blame and believability depending on when the previous assault occurred. A history of childhood sexual assault reduced the believability of the complainant and when combined with other factors increased the tendency to attribute victim-blame.

KW - rape complainant

KW - sexual revictimization

KW - child sexual assault

KW - victim-blame

KW - false allegation

M3 - Article

JO - Violence and Victims

JF - Violence and Victims

SN - 0886-6708

ER -