Slut Shaming in a School Bullying Case: Evaluators Ignore Level of Harm When the Victim Self-Presents as Sexually Available

Slut Shaming in a School Bullying Case: Evaluators Ignore Level of Harm When the Victim... To investigate slut shaming (condemnation aimed at presumably sexually active females) as a form of bullying, we asked 142 U.S. college students acting as disciplinary committee members to decide a case involving two female high school students. We manipulated the victim’s self-presentation (sexually available, control) and the level of harm she suffered (mild anxiety, PTSD). Although evaluators typically make more pro-victim judgments when the level of harm is higher rather than lower, we expected participants to ignore harm when the victim self-presented as sexually available. As predicted, participants in the control condition made higher probability of guilt estimates and harsher sentence recommendations when the victim experienced PTSD versus mild anxiety. In contrast, harm level did not influence participants’ judgments in the sexually available condition. Additional analyses demonstrated that participants attributed relatively more responsibility to the sexually available than to the control victim, and the effect of the victim’s self-presentation on guilt estimates was mediated by attributions about the cause of the harm. The results correspond with previous findings that evaluators blame bullying victims whom they believe made themselves targets. We suggest that school districts revise their policies as necessary to avoid encouraging slut shaming and that evaluators receive training to help them apply the legal definition of bullying to specific situations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sex Roles Springer Journals

Slut Shaming in a School Bullying Case: Evaluators Ignore Level of Harm When the Victim Self-Presents as Sexually Available

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Psychology; Gender Studies; Sociology, general; Medicine/Public Health, general
ISSN
0360-0025
eISSN
1573-2762
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11199-016-0662-6
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

To investigate slut shaming (condemnation aimed at presumably sexually active females) as a form of bullying, we asked 142 U.S. college students acting as disciplinary committee members to decide a case involving two female high school students. We manipulated the victim’s self-presentation (sexually available, control) and the level of harm she suffered (mild anxiety, PTSD). Although evaluators typically make more pro-victim judgments when the level of harm is higher rather than lower, we expected participants to ignore harm when the victim self-presented as sexually available. As predicted, participants in the control condition made higher probability of guilt estimates and harsher sentence recommendations when the victim experienced PTSD versus mild anxiety. In contrast, harm level did not influence participants’ judgments in the sexually available condition. Additional analyses demonstrated that participants attributed relatively more responsibility to the sexually available than to the control victim, and the effect of the victim’s self-presentation on guilt estimates was mediated by attributions about the cause of the harm. The results correspond with previous findings that evaluators blame bullying victims whom they believe made themselves targets. We suggest that school districts revise their policies as necessary to avoid encouraging slut shaming and that evaluators receive training to help them apply the legal definition of bullying to specific situations.

Journal

Sex RolesSpringer Journals

Published: Jul 25, 2016

References

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