The Impact of Victim Alcohol Consumption and Perpetrator Use of Force on Perceptions in an Acquaintance Rape Vignette

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Research suggests that victims of incapacitated rape (when someone has sex with a person who is unable to consent to or resist sexual activity, usually because of intoxication) face higher levels of victim blame than do victims of forcible rape (Krahé, Temkin, & Bieneck, 2007). However, it is not clear whether blame is the result of victim alcohol consumption or the lack of force and resistance present during incapacitated rape; both of these factors have been shown to increase victim blame. The current vignette study crossed victim alcohol consumption and perpetrator use of force. We found main effects of both independent variables on judgments of victim responsibility, but no interaction, suggesting that the effects of alcohol and force are additive rather than interactive. These results indicate that victims of incapacitated rape may indeed face challenges upon disclosing their assaults.

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