Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis



Reader 1

Jennifer Ma

Reader 2

Sharon Goto

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Rights Information

© 2014 Nikita Gettu


Victim blaming is one of the most prevalent obstacles in the recovery of sexual assault victims, especially in cases of marital rape. Given the media coverage of the Delhi rape case of December 2012, there has been an increase in international discourse regarding the impact of ethnic differences on rape culture, victim blaming, and gender equality. Indians, Indian Americans, and European Americans completed an online questionnaire that aimed to identify the potential effect of ethnicity and several other predictors on the attribution of blame in cases of marital and non- marital rape. Indian Americans were studied in order to investigate the possible effect of bicultural identity on blame attribution in rape cases. As hypothesized, Indian Americans scored between Indians and European Americans in almost all predictors of perpetrator, victim, and circumstance blame. Also consistent with study hypotheses, there were ethnic differences in blame attribution such that Indians blamed the victim and circumstance the most and blamed the perpetrator the least. There were no significant differences in blame behavior between Indian Americans and European Americans except for in cases of victim blame. As hypothesized, individualism, collectivism, rape myth acceptance, and system justification were significant predictors of victim, perpetrator, and circumstance blame. Additionally, there were significant correlations between types of blame, rape myth acceptance (RMA), and sexism. Also consistent with the hypothesis, perpetrators were blamed more in cases of non- marital rape than in cases of marital rape.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.