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Effects of relationship, Belief in a Just World and levels of violence on victim blaming

Bodrozic, Hannah (2015) Effects of relationship, Belief in a Just World and levels of violence on victim blaming. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In recent years rape has emerged as an area of public concern with particular focus being on the negative attitudes that rape victims encounter. Rape victims are often blamed for their misfortune which is partly responsible for such low reporting rates. The effect of levels of violence on victim blaming has received little research attention. Ninety four participants (23 male and 71 female) read a hypothetical scenario in which a female victim was attacked in her house by either a stranger or acquaintance. The levels of violence involved were also manipulated between subjects to make the attack either violent or non-violent. Participants then completed an online two part questionnaire to assess their levels of Belief in a Just World (BJW) and to what extent they blamed the victim. Results showed that level of BJW was positively associated with victim blame and participants with high BJW attributed significantly more blame. It was also found that victims were blamed more when the perpetrator was an acquaintance than when they were a stranger. Levels of violence were not found to significantly impact blame. Overall the present study highlights the factors that exacerbate victim blaming.

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