The Influence of Social Dominance Orientation and Perspective-­Taking on Victim Blaming after Sexual Assault

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för psykologi

Abstract: With recent increased media attention on sexual assault against women, many people question why so many women do not report the crimes. One key may reason lies in the phenomenon of victim blaming. This study examined the effects of social dominance orientation (SDO) and perspective-taking on victim blaming after a sexual assault using a between-subjects experimental design. 111 participants responded to an online questionnaire in which they were asked to adopt a perspective and read one of two vignettes depicting a sexual assault. The results showed that SDO had a significant effect on levels of victim blaming, in that those higher in SDO blamed the victim more. The type of perspective adopted by participants also had an effect – those who were tasked to adopt a perspective rather than remain objective blamed the victim significantly less. The type of vignette did not have any significant relationship. These findings suggest that the propensity to blame the victim could be due to individual difference characteristics, but through strategically positioning campaigns to induce perspective-taking the phenomenon could lessen.

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