Effects of Attire, Alcohol, and Gender on Perceptions of Date Rape

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Sex Roles




This investigation explored three categories of college students’ perceptions of sexual assault: perceptions of similarity to vignette characters, perceptions of vignette characters’ sexual intent, and victim-blaming behaviors, using a convenience sample of 652 U.S. undergraduates and an on-line factorial survey containing a two-part heterosexual date rape vignette. This investigation predicted that vignette character attire, character alcohol use, and participant gender would each significantly influence perceptions in all three categories. Strong associations appeared between all three experimental variables and perceptions, with characters that wore suggestive attire or became intoxicated perceived as less similar and having greater sexual intent than characters that wore neutral attire or abstained. Few differences in actual victim-blaming appeared, likely because of the elimination of hindsight bias.