Women's attributions of responsibility for date rape: the influence of empathy and sex-role stereotyping.
The purpose of the study presented here was to investigate the relationship among sex-role stereotyping, empathy with the victim, and subsequent blaming of the victim in response to a date-rape scenario. It was hypothesized that sex-typed (traditional) females would be less likely to perceive forced sex on a date as rape and would attribute more responsibility to the victim than would more egalitarian (nontraditional) females. It was also predicted that the enhancement of victim empathy would result in less victim blame. The subjects were 76 female undergraduates who were chosen on the basis of their extreme scores on a sex-role stereotyping scale. Vignettes describing a date rape were used to manipulate victim empathy. Findings indicated that although attributions of responsibility were influenced by the subject's sex-role stereotyping, the manipulation of empathy had no apparent influence on victim blame. Furthermore, the lack of correlation between the degree of victim empathy and the subject's own history of victimization suggests that victim empathy is not a component in victim blame.
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