Advising Victims of Sexual Assault

Open Access
Author:
Moorhouse, Meghan
Area of Honors:
Criminology
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Barry Ruback, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stacy Silver , Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Sexual Assault
  • Victim Blame
  • Alcohol
  • Victim-Offender Relationship
  • Advice
Abstract:
This thesis focuses on examining how three primary variables (Victim Intoxication, Offender Intoxication, and Victim-Offender Relationship) affect individuals’ decision to advise victims of sexual assault to report to the police. The design of the study was a 3 x 2 x 2 between-subjects experiment, such that there were three levels of Victim Intoxication (sober, drunk, or unconscious from being drunk), two levels of Offender Intoxication (drunk or sober), and two levels of Victim-Offender Relationship (friend or stranger). Sexual assault vignettes were utilized within questionnaires to assess the effects of these variables on Advice to Report. Two other dependent variables, Victim Blame and Offender Blame, were also included, as were demographic questions. The participants in this study were 225 undergraduate students from four different criminology classes at The Pennsylvania State University. The results of this study show that the drinking habits of the participants significantly affected whether or not they advised the victim to report the assault, as well as whether or not they blamed the victim for the crime. The findings of this study suggest that future research needs to focus on drinking habits and how they affect individuals’ decision to advise reporting.