Catherine Esnard et al., « Perceptions of male victim blame in a child sexual abuse case : effects of gender, age and need for closure », Dépôt Institutionnel de l'Académie Louvain, ID : 10.1080/1068316X.2012.700310
According to the gender stereotypes attributed to men, and research on adult male victims, boys subjected to sexual abuse are expected to be better able to defend themselves than girls, and are thought to be more likely to adopt a proactive attitude in the victim-perpetrator relationship. They are consequently regarded as more blameworthy than female victims. In the present study, 384 French respondents read through a sexual abuse scenario in which the child victim's gender, perpetrator's gender and victim's age (7 vs. 12 years old) were manipulated. As expected, male respondents blamed the victim more than female respondents did, especially when the victim was a boy. Furthermore, male respondents blamed the perpetrator less than female respondents did, especially when the perpetrator was a woman and the victim a boy. However, these effects were observed for victims of both 7 and 12 years old while it was expected only for the 12-year-old victims. Finally, as expected, respondents who expressed a high need for closure perceived the victim as less credible and more guilty than respondents who expressed a low need for closure, particularly when the victim was 12 years old.