Sexual Aggression Experience Predicting Empathy with an Unspecified or Date Rape Victim and Perpetrator
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Type of Work25 pages
The purpose of this study was to examine rape empathy in two experimental conditions ( date rape; unspecified rape) based on personal sexual victimization experience (nonvictim; date victim; nondate victim) and personal sexual perpetration experience (nonperpetrator; date perpetrator; nondate perpetrator). Undergraduate college women (n = 212) completed the Sexual Experiences Survey to measure both victimization experience and perpetration experience (Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987), and one of two versions of the Rape Victim Empathy Scale and the Rape Perpetrator Empathy Scale (Smith & Frieze, 2003). Regarding victimization, results showed that all victims reported greater empathy than nonvictims, and a potential interaction (p < . l O); date victims tended to report greater empathy with a date rape victim than an unspecified rape victim, but nondate victims tended to report greater empathy with an unspecified rape victim than a date rape victim. Regarding perpetration, results showed that those who have perpetrated against a date reported greater empathy with a rapist than those with no perpetration experience, but nondate perpetrators did not significantly differ from the other two groups. Similarity in experience may influence empathy. The significance of the study will be discussed later in the paper.