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NCJ Number: 64543 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: SOCIAL PERCEPTION OF RAPE VICTIMS - THE IMPACT OF LEGAL REFORM
Journal: LAW AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR  Volume:2  Issue:2  Dated:(1978)  Pages:339-351
Author(s): E BORGIDA; P WHITE
Corporate Author: Plenum Publishing Corp
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Plenum Publishing Corp
New York, NY 10013-1576
Regents of the University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare
Rockville, MD 20857
Grant Number: R01 NH30724-01
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: STUDIES ON THE IMPACT OF LEGAL REFORM ON THE SOCIAL PERCEPTION OF RAPE VICTIMS INDICATE THAT RESTRICTIVE RULES INCREASE BOTH A VICTIM'S CREDIBILITY AND THE LIKELIHOOD OF THE ALLEGED RAPIST'S CONVICTION.
Abstract: SINCE 1975, 40 STATES HAVE ENACTED 'RAPE SHIELD' STATUTES WHICH LIMIT THE ADMISSIBILITY OF A RAPE VICTIM'S PRIOR SEXUAL HISTORY IN COURT. THESE REFORMS HAVE ASSUMED THAT JURORS REGARD PRIOR SEXUAL HISTORY EVIDENCE AS TOO PROBATIVE OF A VICTIM'S CREDIBILITY AND MORAL CHARACTER AND THAT SUCH PERCEPTIONS HAVE A PREJUDICIAL IMPACT ON THE OUTCOME OF THE JURY DECISION PROCESS. AN ATTRIBUTIONAL ANALYSIS WAS USED TO EXAMINE THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE TYPES OF LEGAL REFORM AFFECT SOCIAL PERCEPTION OF THE VICTIM AND THE CONVICTION RATES IN A VIDEOTAPED CONSENT DEFENSE RAPE TRIAL. A LARGE-SCALE JURY SIMULATION EXPERIMENT WAS CONDUCTED WITH QUALIFIED JURORS FROM THE MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MINN., METROPOLITAN AREA. JURORS EITHER VIEWED AN IMPROBABLE OR PROBABLE LIKELIHOOD OF (VICTIM) CONSENT VERSION OF THE TRIAL, WITH ADMISSIONS OF PRIOR SEXUAL HISTORY EVIDENCE GOVERNED BY ONE OF THREE TYPES OF EXCLUSIONARY RULES. RESULTS GAVE CREDENCE TO THE REFORMIST CONTENTION THAT A RAPE VICTIM IS ON TRIAL ALONG WITH THE ACCUSED. JURORS WERE RELUCTANT TO CONVICT WHEN ANY TESTIMONY ABOUT PRIOR SEXUAL HISTORY OF THE RAPE VICTIM WAS INTRODUCED. MOREOVER, JURORS' CLOSE SCRUTINY OF THE VICTIM'S CREDIBILITY AND MORAL CHARACTER WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE CONVICTION RATE. ONLY THE MOST RESTRICTIVE EVIDENTIARY RULE CURTAILED THE INFERENCE OF VICTIM CONSENT, ENHANCED VICTIM CREDIBILITY, AND INCREASED THE LIKELIHOOD OF CONVICTION. THE RESEARCH PROVIDED STRONG EMPIRICAL DEMONSTRATION OF THE PREJUDICIAL EFFECTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ADMISSION OF THIRD PARTY PRIOR SEXUAL HISTORY EVIDENCE. REFERENCES ARE SUPPLIED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--MJW)
Index Term(s): Discrimination; Law reform; Personality assessment; Rape; Rapists; Sexual assault victims; Social psychology; Victim crime precipitation; Victim-offender relationships; Victimology
Note: PORTIONS OF THIS RESEARCH WERE PRESENTED AT THE ANNUAL MEETINGS OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, TORONTO, CANADA, 1978
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64543

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