To blame or not to blame: influences of target race and observer sex on rape blame attribution

J Interpers Violence. 2007 Jun;22(6):722-36. doi: 10.1177/0886260507300754.


There is a paucity of research on the influence of racist and sexist stereotypes in rape blame attribution, including the jezebel and matriarch stereotypes of Black women. This study extends the literature by examining how victim race, perpetrator race, and participant sex affect perceptions of a rape survivor's promiscuity (jezebel stereotype) and strength and/or toughness (matriarch stereotype). The myth of the Black male sexual predator of White women is also investigated. Data provided partial support for the jezebel stereotype. There were also contradictory findings supporting and challenging the acceptance of the Black rapist of White women stereotype. No significant differences were found for the matriarch stereotype. Reasons for and implications of findings are explored.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Male
  • Race Relations*
  • Rape / psychology*
  • Social Problems
  • Social Values
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stereotyping*
  • Students / psychology
  • White People / psychology*