Something in the way he moves? Interpersonal judgments of acquaintance rapists

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Abstract

Two studies explored variations in women's appraisals of acquaintance rapists. In Study 1, an acquaintance rapist was evaluated the least harshly when he was physically dominating but sexually dysfunctional. In Study 2, this softening of the rapist's perceived qualities was most evident when he attributed his sexual failure to a need for his victim's sexual consent. Acquaintance rape is therefore an interpersonal crime that can yield varied judgments of its perpetrators. In particular, some women may give more benefit of doubt to sexually violent men by relying on an “adversary transformation” narrative in which the victim has tamed the rapist and harnessed his strength, passion, and other desirable qualities for herself.

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