Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)


Criminal Justice and Criminology

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Courtney Crittenden

Committee Members

Gregory Rocheleau, Nicole Prior


The current study sought to assess the impact of the race, gender, and ethnicity of rape victims on college students’ propensity to assign culpability to victims. Using a sample of college students (n=279) from a mid-sized Southeastern university, respondents were given a set of six different vignettes, varying only by victim characteristics. These vignettes featured alcohol-facilitated sexual assault between acquaintances, a common occurrence in college environments. Respondents were asked to evaluate the culpability of the victim through a blameworthiness scale. Through the incorporation of the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale, this study also measured the respondents’ propensity to assign blame to female rape victims and to alleviate male perpetrators of any responsibility. Results indicated that adherence to rape myth acceptance was a more significant predictor of blameworthiness than victim or respondent characteristics. This exploratory study was designed to add to the growing body of literature examining attitudes toward acquaintance rape.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.