Title

Alicia could have, Recy should have and Jezebel didn't want to : an analysis of the relationship between the Jezebel stereotype and victim blaming of sexual assault survivors.

Date of Award

5-1-2014

Document Type

Thesis

School

College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts

Abstract

Research suggests that stereotypes of African American women, such as the Jezebel stereotype--immoral and hypersexual women--may lead to a negative perception of African American women and become even more salient when examining sexual assault cases. This thesis looks at the history of Black women's sexuality and how constructions of race and gender explain the stereotype. Additionally, this thesis aims to examine whether endorsing this stereotype of African American women will lead to higher victim blaming for African American sexual assault victims in comparison to their White counterparts. The study hypothesizes that (1) those that endorse the stereotype will attribute blame to a Black victim more than a White victim, and (2) participants who read vignettes of interracial rapes will attribute more blame to the Black perpetrator or victim. Participants in this study first filled out a Belief about Black and White Women Scale, were then presented with a vignette (that varied by race of perpetrator and victim) and answered questions based on the vignette about the perpetrator and the victim. The study consisted of both qualitative and quantitative data that answered the main questions in different ways. The study found that participants blamed the victim more if she was described as Black; however, there were no statistically significant differences between interracial and intraracial rapes. In addition, participants who accepted the stereotype were more likely to blame the Black victim, compared to the White victim. Implications of research are discussed.