Effects of Victim Gaze Behavior and Prior Relationship on Rape Culpability Attributions

Cynthia E. Willis, Lawrence S. Wrightsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A rape victim's gaze behavior when identifying a defendant and the prior relationship between victim and defendant were examined for their effects on rape culpability attributions. The victim's gaze behavior and prior relationship intimacy independently influenced culpability attributions. In comparison with a victim who used gaze maintenance or natural gaze behavior, a rape victim's gaze avoidance was perceived as indicative of less truthfulness rather than emotional upset. Evidence for discounting the defendant's culpability was found when relationship intimacy existed. The findings have implications for introduction of expert testimony on postrape behavior and trauma, and discounting of the defendant's culpability with relationship intimacy is examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-377
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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