Beautiful thus innocent? the impact of defendants' and victims' physical attractiveness and participants' rape beliefs on impression formation in alleged rape cases

Aldert Vrij, H. Firmin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This experiment examined the possible beneficial effects of victims' and defendants' good-looks in an alleged rape case. It was hypothesized that people who especially endorsed ‘Rape Myths’ would be more favourable towards victims and defendants who are good-looking. Moreover, it was hypothesized that females would be more favourable towards the victim than males and that this gender difference would be mediated by differences in “Rape Myths Acceptance”. In the experiment, 80 observers were exposed to an extract of a victim's story about an alleged rape case. The physical attractiveness of both the victim and the defendant were systematically varied. Observers' Rape Myths Acceptance were measured with Burt's (1980) Rape Myths Acceptance scale. The results support the hypotheses; it is therefore suggested that the acceptance of these myths should be investigated in selection procedures of people who are likely to be confronted with victims of sexual offenses, such as police officers and jury members in rape or sexual harassment cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Review of Victimology
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2001

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