Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Bridget Diamond- Welch

Second Advisor

Dr. Cindy Struckman-Johnson

Third Advisor

Dr. Craig Tollini


Criminology, Sexual Assault, Gender and Sexuality, Bisexuality


This study examined the ways in which members of the heterosexual and queer communities assign blame in cases of sexual assault. Heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual participants were recruited from Amazon mTurk. After reading a vignette depicting a sexual assault, participants completed a survey measuring variables like victim blame, empathy for and similarity to the victim and perpetrator, and rape myth acceptance (RMA). There appears to be a gender/sexuality interaction at play wherein males of all sexualities are significantly less victim-friendly than females of all sexualities and wherein there are significant differences between males of different sexualities. Significant differences were found between the heterosexual, bisexual, and homosexual samples, which were largely driven by the gay male results. Bisexuality promoted slightly more victim-friendly attitudes in four areas of analysis: victim blame tendencies relative to heterosexuals and homosexuals; victim blame tendencies relative to homosexuals; perceived similarity to the victim on the part of bisexual males relative to heterosexual males; and victim-friendliness of bisexual males relative to gay males.



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