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Journal Article


Rogers P, Davies M, Anderson I, Potton A. J. Interpers. Violence 2011; 26(10): 1911-1933.


(Copyright © 2011, SAGE Publishing)






The present study examines the effects of victim age, victim physical maturity, and respondent gender on attributions toward victims, perpetrator, and the nonoffending members of the victim's family in a hypothetical child sexual abuse (CSA) case. Participants read a brief CSA vignette in which the male perpetrator (a school caretaker) sexually abuses a student in the school changing rooms. The victim was depicted as either a 12- or 15-year-old girl who, in terms of physical maturity, was either pre- or postpubescent. Separate 2 x 2 x 2 ANOVAs were performed on the dependent variables. Results conformed broadly to the study's predictions with younger victims being viewed more negatively than older victims and the victim's physical appearance being viewed as more encouraging of CSA for the younger than for the older girl. Female participants were more likely to endorse the belief that the younger victim should have fought back and that the prepubescent 15-year-old victim should have fought back more than her postpubescent counterpart. While attributions toward the perpetrator and victim's family did not differ across conditions for women, men tended to blame the perpetrator more when victims were younger and the family more when victims were less physically mature. Findings are discussed in relation to norm theory principles, just world theory, and the defensive attribution hypothesis.

Language: en


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