Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Ho Kwan Cheung, Ph.D.


Abstract Sexual violence affects people of all color and gender, but extant research has mostly focused on reactions toward female (and often White) survivors. With a sample of 77 undergraduate University participants (Mage = 18.82), the current study examined the effects of survivors’ race and gender on recommended punishment of the sexual violence incidents. The results indicated that severity of the assault and recommended punishment for the perpetrator had a significantly positive relationship, such that individuals’ recommended more severe punishments for more severe sexual violence incidents. Furthermore, sexual violence incidents involving female victims were recommended more severe punishments than those involving male victims. Additionally, the most commonly believed rape myths were in relation to the accidental nature of sexual assault, and false accusations of sexual assault. This study’s implications emphasize that we need to be more consciously aware of our in-group biases and stereotypes, and that it is our duty to both respect and assist any disclosure of sexual violence. ii