Rape Crimes Reviewed: The Role of Observer Variables in Female Victim Blaming

Maria Clara Ferrão, Gabriela Gonçalves


This article presents an overview of empirical research on the role of observer variables in rape victim blaming (female attacked by a male perpetrator). The focus is on literature from the last 15 years. The variables observer gender, ambivalent sexism, rape myth acceptance, and rape empathy are discussed in relation to victim blaming. Most research on rape is conducted using diverse methods and approaches that result in a great disparity regarding the role of these variables in predicting blame assignments. Despite the inconsistencies, most studies show that men hold the victim more responsible for her own victimization than women. Findings further indicate that higher scores on sexist ideologies and rape myth acceptance predict higher victim blame, and that higher rape empathy scores predict lower victim blame. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


rape; victim blaming; observer gender; ambivalent sexism; rape myths; empathy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5964/psyct.v8i1.131

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ISSN: 2193-7281
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