Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Second Department

Humanities: Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture

Reader 1

Jennifer Groscup

Reader 2

Andrew Aisenberg

Reader 3

Jennifer Ma

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Rachel H. Weiner

Abstract

The consequences of rape can be both psychologically and physically damaging to the victim. Unfortunately, it is all too frequently the case that attitudes against the victim in the form of acceptance of rape myths and other forms of victim-blaming serve merely to perpetuate these psychological consequences. This study looks at both the theoretical feminist and psychoanalytic perspectives that lay the groundwork for the foundations of Western culture’s inability to understand and empathize the female bodily condition in terms of rape and pregnancy, and the psychological effects that contribute to juror perceptions of rape victims and attitudes towards abortion. A study was run comparing a control trial transcript of a rape case, a transcript where the victim became pregnant, and one where she had an abortion as a result of her pregnancy, against responses to questions of rapist and victim-blame and empathy. The results were scattered, but overall there were significant differences in jurors perceptions of the rape, the victim, and the rapist that fluctuated as a result of pregnancy or abortion being admitted into evidence.

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