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Evaluating perceived severity of Alaska Native victim rape

Evaluating perceived severity of Alaska Native victim rape

Project Details

Funding Sources

  • URECA: $

Abstract

American Indian and Alaska Native women make up a large 34.1% of reported victims of rape. In fact, women living in Alaska have a four time greater chance of being raped than the national average—61% of which are Alaska Native women (Fuchs, 2013). While these numbers are particularly high for Alaska Native women, they are rarely represented (or “invisible”) within the literature that investigates the effects of race for experiences and perceptions of rape.  Research investigating the effects of race for perceptions of severity of an acquaintance rape, has almost exclusively focused on Black and White individuals. This work generally shows that rape severity is rated as highest when 1) the rape is interracial (Hymes, Leinart, Rowe & Rogers, 1993), 2) the victim is a White female (George & Martinez, 2001), and 3) the perpetrator is a Black male (Varelas & Foley, 1998). The current work build on this research by investigating 1) how race matters for perceptions of rape severity for Alaska Native women compared to White and Black women, and 2) the role of gender of the victim for evaluations of rape severity. To test this Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) participants will be randomly assigned to read a scenario in which a victim (who is male or female, Alaska Native, Black or White) has reported being raped by an acquaintance of the opposite gender (who is Alaska Native, Black or White). After reading the scenario participants will then rate the severity of the rape and the legitimacy of the claim. Anna predicts the race and gender of the victim will matter: Female rapes will be rated as more severe than male victim rapes, and White victim will be rated as more severe than both Alaska Native and Black victims. In addition, when the victim is a White female the rape will be rated as more severe than if she is an Alaska Native or Black female, and this will be particularly the case when the rape is interracial. But, when the victim is male, the rape will be rated as more severe when he is Alaska Native compared to White or Black, and White male victim rapes will be rated as more severe than Black male victim rapes, and this will be particularly likely when the rape is interracial.