Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Frederick Grieve, Anthony Paquin, Thomas Gross

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This study set out to examine how different factors such as the gender of the victim, the gender of the perpetrator, and the scenario of sexual assault, can influence an outsider’s opinion of the sexual assault. There were two main hypotheses: the first is male and female participants would perceive the push-away scenario as sexual assault at equal rates, but significantly more female participants would perceive the victim allowing the perpetrator to unbuckle their pants scenario as sexual assault. The second is male and female participants would view the male perpetrator scenarios as sexual assault equally, but significantly more female participants would view the female perpetrator scenarios as sexual assault. It was also expected that there would be a positive interaction effect between the type of scenario and the gender of the participant. Participants were recruited via an online survey tool provided by the university; there were a total of 108 participants. After agreeing to the informed consent document, the participant then read the four scenarios in a randomized order and answered one question about each vignette. Results indicated that the nature of the sexual assault depicted impacted the participant’s opinion of who (the perpetrator or the victim) was responsible for the event more than the gender of the participant or the genders of the perpetrator and victim.


Clinical Psychology | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology