Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Daniel A. Krauss

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© 2014 McKenzie Javorka


Sexual assault among college students in the US has prompted debate about how to prevent and punish such crimes. Under Title IX and the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter from the Office for Civil Rights, universities are required to undertake the prevention, investigation, and punishment of sexually violent offenses on college campuses. However, the vast majority of victims do not report their assaults, whether on campus or to the police. The current study investigated the effect of victim reporting on perceptions of sexual assault. Two undergraduate samples, one from a small liberal arts college (n = 197) and another recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk (n = 56), were randomly assigned to read a vignette of an alleged sexual assault including one of four reporting conditions: no reporting, reporting to on-campus administrators, reporting to law enforcement, or reporting both on campus and to law enforcement. Outcome measures included whether the participant believed an assault had taken place, measures of victim and perpetrator culpability, and scales measuring the extent to which the participant accepts rape myths (RMA) and believes in a just world (JWB). Results failed to demonstrate an effect of victim reporting type, but did find a significant effect of gender such that males blamed the victim more and were less likely to believe an assault had taken place than females. RMA also mediated this relationship, such that the effect of gender on perceptions was accounted for by differences in RMA. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.


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