Te sexual assault victim "who comes to the attention of the authorities has her victimization measured against the current rape mythologies" (R v. Seaboyer, 1991). Tis is particularly troubling given that lay beliefs regarding the crime of sexual assault are at odds with the data documenting the circumstances surrounding actual rape. Research has consistently demonstrated that lay people (hence, jurors) will question the validity of a sexual assault claim and judge the victim more harshly, if the circumstances surrounding the assault and/or the characteristics and actions of the sexual assault complainant do not comport with people's expectations about the event. In this paper we report the results of a juror simulation that examines the impact of victim's postassault emotional demeanor on judgments, in the context of independent manipulations of gender stereotypicality and victim stereotypicality. Results revealed that the complainant's emotional display had a powerful impact on participants' judgments, with the claim viewed as more valid when the complainant was portrayed as tearful/upset as opposed to calm/controlled, but only when the complainant was portrayed as gender stereotypic.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.