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The recent #MeToo movement highlighted how pervasive male-on-female sexual assault has been in our society; specifically, that a large majority of women in particular have experienced qualifying events in the previous 2 decades (Bongiorno, Langbroek, Bain, Ting, & Ryan, 2020). One common theme emerging from this movement is women's reluctance to report sexual assault, specifically based on the (also common) victim-blaming often encountered when they do, especially from men. The current study explores factors (sexual preference of victim (heterosexual-identifying, non-heterosexual-identifying) and gender of rater (self-identifying as male, self-identifying as female)) involved in creation of empathy gaps around sexual assault events. University student participants (50, 18-22-year-old volunteers) read vignettes describing the scenario surrounding a male student’s assault on a female student, varying only on the victim’s identified sexual preference. Data has not yet been analyzed, but it is expected that assaults on heterosexual-identifying and non-heterosexual-identifying victims will elicit different levels of empathy from both male and female raters, possibly displaying an interaction between the two variables. Results will be discussed as a function of victim experiences of perceived blame, guilt, and isolation following sexual assault.


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  • Subject
    • Psychological Science

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3110

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2022

  • Date submitted

    20 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Kelly Cate