Men have less sympathy for and tend to blame a victim of rape more often than women, according to new research. A separate study has also found that promiscuous men are more likely to rape than non-promiscuous men.
The first study focused on attitudes of blame toward rape victims in different scenarios, including drug-assisted rape.
“Rape is a heinous crime and the process of gaining a conviction can be almost as traumatic,” notes Michelle Davies, a researcher with the University of Central Lancashire and lead researcher of the study.
“Knowing certain victims in certain situations are blamed more than others gives those involved in treating victims a ‘head start’ in knowing what types of reactions victims might face.”
The research was conducted on 301 subjects (150 men and 151 women, average age 23) who were read a scenario in which victim gender, sexuality, and whether the victim was awake or asleep at the time of the assault were manipulated by the researchers.
The subjects were then asked to complete a questionnaire on blame.
The results showed that men had less sympathy for rape victims overall and tended to blame the victim more than women did. In particular men were blamed for not fighting back.
The men questioned in the study classed assaults on gay men as the least serious, especially if the victim was conscious.
The second, separate study was presented at the same conference by Sophia Shaw and colleagues from the University of Leicester.
In the second study, 101 men (aged between 18 and 70) completed questionnaires regarding their sexual history, personality and aggression. They were then asked to imagine themselves in different scenarios with one woman but varying her dress, how much alcohol she had consumed, how assertive she was and how many previous sexual partners she had.
Men who considered themselves sexually experienced were willing to coerce the woman to a later stage in the scenario than those with less sexual experience. These men also reported that they found resistance from a woman sexually arousing.
Alcohol, however, had the opposite effect than predicted, with participants more likely to coerce women who were sober rather than drunk.
“Previous research has suggested that women are more likely to be raped by someone they know, yet they fear rape by strangers more,” noted Shaw.
“This study was concerned with examining the factors that lead men to have a greater likelihood to commit rape in scenarios involving a woman who was an acquaintance.”
“We can see from the results that sexually experienced men are more likely to coerce women in sexual situations; even more so if they believe the women to be sexually experienced.”
The research was presented at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Forensic Psychology Annual Conference on Wednesday.
Source: British Psychological Society