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Sex Roles


Springer New York LLC

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Rape victim blame contributes to unreported incidents of sexual assault and failure to support victims (Ahrens in American Journal of Community Psychology, 38(3-4), 263-274, 2006). The present study investigated the relationship between religiosity, religious priming, and rape victim blame. Using an online Qualtrics panel, 247 U.S. participants were randomly assigned to either a neutral prime or a religious prime. They then read a short vignette of an acquaintance rape scenario and answered questions regarding perceptions of victim blame, victim credibility, benevolent and hostile sexism, religiosity, religious fundamentalism, and Rape Myth Acceptance (RMA). Results revealed that the religious prime reduced victim blame for highly religious participants but not among participants scoring lower in religiosity. The results confirmed that religiosity was positively correlated with both victim blame and RMA. The data also confirmed previous findings that men scored higher on blame than women and that higher religiosity correlated with higher victim blame. Additionally, RMA mediated the relationship between religiosity and rape victim blame. The results of this study could prove valuable in settings where sexual assault demands action from specifically religious individuals or institutions (e.g., jurors on a rape case in a highly-religious region or religious universities trying to confront the high prevalence of sexual assault on campus).


This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Sex Roles. The final authenticated version is available online at: