Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 151 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Alissa Pollitz Worden

Committee Members

Frankie Bailey, Jamie Fader, Anne Hildreth, Dennis McCarty


Advice to Victims, College Students, Formal Support Providers, Informal Support Providers, Rape Myths, Rape Victims, Rape victims, Rape, College students

Subject Categories

Criminology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Despite the abundance of literature discussing rape, only a few studies examined others' influence on rape victims' decisions to seek further help as a remedy for recovering from violent victimizations. These studies showed that the majority of rape victims consulted friends or relatives and that rape victims in fact took this advice for their next action. However, there is a gap in our knowledge about the type and the frequency of advice given to rape victims. In order to add to the existing knowledge, this study examined the factors influencing friends' advice to (1) contact criminal justice professionals, (2) contact health and social support providers, and (3) talk with informal support providers. A sample of undergraduate students was provided with vignettes describing a hypothetical rape situation and a series of questions about their opinions of formal support providers, their belief in rape myths, attitudes toward women, the degree of responsibility assigned to the victim for the attack, and their individual characteristics and backgrounds. The results indicated that situational characteristics and gender influenced the type of advice given to the rape victim. Specifically, the victim who resisted the assailant was more likely than the victim who did not to be advised to contact criminal justice professionals. The victim whose assailant was an acquaintance received more frequent advice to contact both criminal justice professionals and health and social support providers than the victim who was assaulted by her boyfriend. Additionally, more men recommended the victim contact criminal justice professionals than did women, who were more likely to suggest the victim contact health and social support providers or informal support providers. Implications on policies are discussed with particular attention to a college population, on which the sample of this study was based.