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Perceptions of Domestic Violence in Heterosexual Relationships: Impact of Victim Gender and History of Response

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Within the context of a heterosexual relationship, participants (n = 197) read a police interview involving a claim of domestic violence that varied the gender of the victim. Within gender conditions, the victim's previous history of response to the violence, and on the evening in question, was portrayed as either passive or active (i.e., fought back). Results support the notion of a prototypical domestic violence victim that has emerged within a gendered framework. Overall, the female victim was perceived in a more sympathetic light than the male victim was. Interaction effects showed that men, but not women, rated the male victim as more responsible for the assault than the female victim. Participant gender effects indicated that women rated the victim and their claim of victimization more favorably than men did. Implications within the courtroom are discussed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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