Attribution of responsibility for sexual violence: Effect of type of tactic, gender and benevolent sexism




sexual violence, attribution of responsibility, benevolent sexism, sexual coercion


Sexual violence is a current problem that requires em­pirical study, since it affects more than 30 % of women in their relationships with men. The aim of the research has been to verify the way in which the type of tactics used to obtain sex, along with gender and benevolent sexism can have an impact on the responsibility at­tributed to the aggressor. Using a sample of 305 partici­pants, a sexual scenario is presented in a relationship context where the type of tactic used to have sex (neutral, sexual coaxing, or sexual coercion) is manipulated. The results indicate that people attribute more responsibility to the aggressor when the tactic used is sexual coaxing or sexual coercion than when using non-violent (neutral) tactics. In addition, men with high benevolent sexism blame the aggressor less, but only when the subtlest tac­tics of sexual violence (sexual coaxing) are used, whereas this effect does not occur in women. These re­sults provide a theoretical framework for establishing the limits of the behaviours that are considered acceptable (or not) in a relationship, contributing to their detection and having implications for legal decision-making in cases of gender violence.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Marta Garrido-Macías, Universidad de Granada

entro de Investigación, Mente, Cerebro y Comportamiento, (CIMCYC)

Inmaculada Valor-Segura, Universidad de Granada

Facultad de Psicología


Basow, S. A. y Minieri, A. (2011). “You owe me”: Effects of date cost, who pays, participant gender, and rape myth beliefs on perceptions of rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26, 479-497.

Black, M. C., Basile, K. C., Breiding, M. J., Smith, S. G., Walters, M. L., Merrick, M. T., … y Stevens, M. R. (2011). The national intimate partner and sexual violence survey (NISVS): 2010 summary report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bourke, J. (2007). Rape: Sex, violence, history. Berkley, CA: Shoemaker and Hoard.

Byers, E. S. y Glenn, S. A. (2012). Gender differences in cognitive and affective responses to sexual coercion. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 27, 827-845.

Camilleri, J. A., Quinsey, V. L. y Tapscott, J. L. (2009). Assessing the propensity for sexual coaxing and coercion in relationships: Factor structure, reliability, and validity of the Tactics to Obtain Sex Scale. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 959-973. 10.1007/s10508-008-9377-2

Capezza, N. M. y Arriaga, X. B. (2008a). Factors associated with acceptance of psychological aggression against women. Violence against Women, 14, 612-633.

Capezza, N. M. y Arriaga, X. B. (2008b). You can degrade but you can’t hit: Differences in perceptions of psychological versus physical aggression. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 25, 225-245.

Davies, M. y Rogers, P. (2009). Perceptions of blame and credibility toward victims of childhood sexual abuse: Differences across victim age, victim-perpetrator relationship, and respondent gender in a depicted case. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 18, 78-92.

DeGue, S. y DiLillo, D. (2005). “You would if you loved me”: Toward an improved conceptual and etiological understanding of nonphysical male sexual coercion. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 10, 513-532.

Durán, M. (2010). Sexismo benévolo y violencia sexual: percepción social de la violación en relaciones íntimas [Benevolent Sexim and Sexual Violence: Social Perception of Rape in Intimate Relationships] (Tesis Doctoral). Universidad de Granada, Granada (España).

Durán, M., Campos-Romero, I. y Martínez-Pecino, R. (2014). Obstáculos en la comprensión de la violencia de género: influencia del sexismo y la formación en género. [Obstacles towards Gender Violence Comprehension: Influence of Sexism and Academic Training in Gender Issues]. Acción Psicológica, 11, 97-106.

Expósito, F., Moya, M. C. y Glick, P. (1998). Sexismo ambivalente: medición y correlatos. [Ambivalent Sexism: Measurement and Correlatos]. Revista de Psicología Social, 13, 159-169.

Glick, P. y Fiske, S. T. (1996). The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 491-512.

Herrera, A., Pina, A., Herrera, M. C. y Expósito, F. (2014). ¿Mito o realidad? Influencia de la ideología en la percepción social del acoso sexual [Myth or Reality? Influence of Ideology in the Sexual Harassment Perception]. Anuario de Psicología Jurídica, 24, 1-7.

Herrera, M. C., Herrera, A. y Expósito, F. (2014). Stop Harassment! Men's reactions to victims’ confrontation. European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 6, 45-52. doi:

Herrera, M. C., Herrera, A. y Expósito, F. (2017). To confront versus not to confront: Women’s perception of sexual harassment. European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context. Advance online publication.

Katz, J., Moore, J. A. y Tkachuk, S. (2007). Verbal sexual coercion and perceived victim responsibility: Mediating effects of perceived control. Sex Roles, 57, 235-247.

Katz, J. y Myhr, L. (2008). Perceived conflict patterns and relationship quality associated with verbal sexual coercion by male dating partners. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23, 798-814.

Katz, J. y Tirone, V. (2009). Women’s sexual compliance with male dating partners: Associations with investment in ideal womanhood and romantic well-being. Sex Roles, 60, 347-356.

Katz, J. y Tirone, V. (2010). Going along with it: Sexually coercive partner behavior predicts dating women’s compliance with unwanted sex. Violence against Women, 16, 730-742.

Kuyper, L., de Wit, J., Smolenski, D., Adam, P., Woertman, L. y van Berlo, W. (2013). Gender differences in patterns of experienced sexual coercion and associated vulnerability factors among young people in the Netherlands. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20, 1-22.

Lazar, R. (2010). Negotiating sex: The legal construct of consent in cases of wife rape in Ontario, Canada. Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, 22, 329-363.

Logan, T. K., Walker, R. y Cole, J. (2015). Silenced suffering: The need for a better understanding of partner sexual violence. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 16, 111-135.

MacKinnon, C.A. (2006). Are women human? And other international dialogues. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

Masser, B., Lee, K. y McKimmie, B. M. (2010). Bad woman, bad victim? Disentangling the effects of victim stereotypicality, gender stereotypicality and benevolent sexism on acquaintance rape victim blame. Sex Roles, 62, 494-504.

McGregor, J. (2005). Is it rape? On acquaintance rape and taking women’s consent seriously. Burlington, VT: Ashgate.

Pedersen, S. H. y Strömwall, L. A. (2013). Victim blame, sexism and just-world beliefs: A cross-cultural comparison. Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 20, 932-941.

Postma, R., Bicanic, I., van der Vaart, H. y Laan, E. (2013). Pelvic floor muscle problems mediate sexual problems in young adult rape victims. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10, 1978-1987. 10.1111/jsm.12196

Rogers, P., Davies, M. y Cottam, L. (2010). Perpetrator coercion, victim resistance and respondent gender: Their impact on blame attributions in a hypothetical child sexual abuse case. Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, 2, 25-35.

Rubio-Garay, F., López-González, M. A., Saúl, L. A. y Sánchez-Elvira-Paniagua, A. (2012). Direccionalidad y expresión de la violencia en las relaciones de noviazgo de los jóvenes [Directionality and Violence Expression in Dating Relationships of Young People]. Acción Psicológica, 9, 61-70.

Salwen, J. K. y O’Leary, K. D. (2013). Adjustment problems and maladaptive relational style: A mediational model of sexual coercion in intimate relationships. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28, 1969-1988.

Sorenson, S. B., Joshi, M. y Sivitz, E. (2014). A systematic review of the epidemiology of nonfatal strangulation, a human rights and health concern. American Journal of Public Health, 104, 54-61.

Soto-Quevedo, O. A. (2012). The role of ambivalent sexism and transgression of gender stereotype on attribution of blame to female victims of intimate partner violence. Acta Colombiana de Psicología, 15, 135-148.

Tamborra, T. L., Dutton, L. B. y Terry, K. J. (2014). Verbally coerced sex: Does she have to say “no”? Interpersonal Review of Victimology, 20, 227-241.

Ullman, S. E., Relyea, M., Peter-Hagene, L. y Vasquez, A. L. (2013). Trauma histories, substance use coping, PTSD, and problem substance use among sexual assault victims. Addictive Behaviors, 38, 2219-2223.

Valor-Segura, I., Expósito, F. y Moya, M. (2011). Victim blaming and exoneration of the perpetrator in domestic violence: The role of beliefs in a just world and ambivalent sexism. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 14, 195-206.

Vannier, S. A. y O'Sullivan, L. F. (2010). Sex without desire: Characteristics of occasions of sexual compliance in young adults' committed relationships. Journal of Sex Research, 47, 429-439.

Vidal-Fernández, A. y Megías, J. L. (2014). Attributions of blame to battered women when they are perceived as feminists or as “difficult to deal with”. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17, 1-10.

Weiss, K. G. (2009). “Boys will be boys” and other gendered accounts. An exploration of victims’ excuses and justifications for unwanted sexual contact and coercion. Violence against Women, 15(7), 810-834.

Yamawaki, N. (2007). Rape perception and the function of ambivalent sexism and gender-role traditionality. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 406-423.

Zinzow, H. M., Resnick, H. S., McCauley, J. L., Amstadter, A. B., Ruggiero, K. J. y Kilpatrick, D. G. (2012). Prevalence and risk of psychiatric disorders as a function of variant rape histories: Results from a national survey of women. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 47, 893-902. 10.1007/s00127-011-0397-1.



How to Cite

Garrido-Macías, M., Valor-Segura, I., & Expósito, F. (2017). Attribution of responsibility for sexual violence: Effect of type of tactic, gender and benevolent sexism. Acción Psicológica, 14(2), 69–84.



Artículos del monográfico [Monograph´s articles]