View Article

Click download link to download full text.

Do perceptions of statutory rape vary based on offender and victim pairings? Testing the effects of race and gender

Description: The stereotypical profile of a common sex offender (older, white, male stranger who targets a young, female victim) has been pervasive in the media portrayal of this group of offenders. In this study, we used a 2x2x2x2 factorial design vignette study to examine participants' (n=343) positive or negative perceptions of the offender/victim relationship, how severe the scenario was, whether or not the offender is likely to recidivate, and whether or not the minor victim had any responsibility for the statutory rape occurring. Participants read one of 16 fictional vignettes, which varied based on four characteristics of target: offender race (white vs. black), victim race (white vs. black), offender gender (male vs. female) and victim gender (male vs. female). This study examines the effects of those variable manipulations in relation to the above four dependent measures. Unexpected results showed participant sympathy toward black, male victims despite the common profile stating that white, female victims are more commonly targets. The results and policy implications are discussed.

Suggested Citation:
Klein, J. L., & Cooper, D. T. (2017). Do perceptions of statutory rape vary based on offender and victim pairings? Testing the effects of race and gender [Electronic Version]. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 13(1), 33-50.

Keywords: statutory rape, ANOVA, vignette research, stereotype research, sex offenders, factorial design

Date: May 18, 2017 | File Size: 420.47 Kb | Downloads: 38

Download this Article