Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award

Spring 4-15-2020

Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Psychology-BS

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Dr. Michele Acker

First Committee Member

Associate Professor Tammy Birk

Second Committee Member

Dr. Karen Steigman

Keywords

Ambivalent Sexism, MeToo Movement, Rape Myth Acceptance, Victim Blaming

Subject Categories

Multicultural Psychology | Other Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology

Abstract

The current study empirically investigates the factors that influence how a person judges the victims and perpetrators in a sexual assault case. This work grows out of the MeToo Movement; a cultural shift that has allowed women to come forward and share their experiences with sexual assault (Mendes et. al, 2018). The goals of the current research are to understand how someone who holds ambivalent sexist beliefs and beliefs in rape myths may view the #MeToo Movement and a victim of assault. This study has 2 (victim race) X 2 (victim gender) X 2 (participant gender) design, where 181 participants read a vignette that varies the victim race and gender and is based on a famous sexual assault case. The dependent variables are responsibility for what happened and blame (the victim or the perpetrator). Participants will complete the Ambivalent Sexism Scale, a MeToo Perception scale, and the Rape Myth Acceptance Scale. The present study tested three main hypotheses. The first one found that there was a significant effect of victim gender and culpability. The second hypothesis found that MeToo scores were correlated with who people thought was responsible for what took place in the vignette. Plus, those who were in Rape Myth Acceptance had negative views of the MeToo Movement. Finally, participants who had higher hostile sexism scores were more likely to have high MeToo scores. Further empirical research is needed to study the perceptions of the MeToo movement and its impact on victim blaming, especially in marginalized communities.

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