Volume 1

Student Perceptions of Rapist Responsibility and the Appropriateness of Punishments in the Presence of Alcohol and Expressed Remorse

Michelle Parrish & Shara Puglisi

College students (n = 240), half of whom were women, completed a series of measures designed to assess attitudes toward rape and perceptions of blame. Students were randomly assigned to reading one of four scenarios depicting a dating couple consuming alcoholic or nonalcoholic beverages and a rapist expressing remorse for or denial of his actions. Participants also completed a rape myth acceptance scale, measures of scenario-victim blame, and evaluated punishment recommendations for the scenario-rapist. Men were found to be more accepting of rape myths, to have fewer rape-related experiences, and to blame the victim more than women. The presence of alcohol was found to increase victim blame and decrease the severity of punishment recommendations for both sexes. The results are consistent with past research and suggest concern for common dating practices of college students.

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