Assessing the Effects of Myths about Sexual Aggression on the Verisimilitude of a Victim-Complainant of Sexual Assault

Authors

  • Yurena Gancedo Psicología Organizacional, Jurídica Forense y Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9531-793X
  • Jéssica Sanmarco Psicología Organizacional, Jurídica Forense y Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9186-8141
  • Adriana Selaya Psicología Organizacional, Jurídica Forense y Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9530-7237
  • Andrea González-Dapía Unidad de Psicología Forense, Facultad de Psicología, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Mercedes Novo Psicología Organizacional, Jurídica Forense y Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0942-1501

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.5944/ap.18.1.30805

Keywords:

attribution of responsibility, judgement-making, myths about sexual aggression, testimony credi-bility, sexual violence against women, victim blaming

Abstract

Sexual violence against women is one of the most underre­ported criminal offences, and has one of the lowest con­viction rates. The main standard of proof is the victim’s-complainant’s testimony and the evaluation of credibility. In order to assess the effects of myths about sexual aggres­sion on the credibility of women and their testimony, a field study was performed. The study consisted of 353 par­ticipants (235 women), aged 16 to 72 years, who evaluated the credibility of a testimony of a victim-complainant of sexual assault where the type of narrative was manipulated (neutral, provocative clothing, and alcohol consumption), and responded to a measure of the acceptance of myths about sexual aggression. The results revealed the type of narrative had no effect on the evaluation of testimonial credibility, but an effect was found in the factors gender, and myths about sexual aggression. Succinctly, men con­ferred less credibility to a victim’s-complainant’s testi­mony (i.e., less victim-complainant honesty, and testimo­nial credibility), whilst attributing less responsibility to the aggressor-defendant. However, both men and women equally attributed responsibility to the victim-complainant for the sexual assault. Moreover, individuals sanctioning myths about sexual aggression attributed less honesty and credibility to the victim-complainant, and their testimony, whilst attributing less responsibility to the aggressor-de­fendant, and more to the victim-complainant. The impli­cations of the results on judgement-making are discussed.

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Published

2021-06-30

How to Cite

Gancedo, Y., Sanmarco, J., Selaya, A., González-Dapía, A., & Novo, M. (2021). Assessing the Effects of Myths about Sexual Aggression on the Verisimilitude of a Victim-Complainant of Sexual Assault. Acción Psicológica, 18(1), 221–248. https://doi.org/10.5944/ap.18.1.30805

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Section

Artículos de temática libre [Selection of articles]