Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Cheryl A. Terrance


Research findings suggest that certain characteristics of victims and perpetrators may make them more likely to be blamed. To this end, the current study examined how victim gender, having a history of infidelity, empathy instructions, and observer gender work together to place blame on victims and perpetrators. Participants read one of eight scenarios that varied the victim’s gender, history of infidelity, and presence of empathy instructions. They then indicated the degree to which various actors were to blame for the occurrence of nonconsensual pornography, as well as their affective reactions toward both the victim and the perpetrator. Overall, affect decreased after reading the scenario. Additionally, men attributed more blame to the victim than did women and were more likely to empathize with the perpetrator, especially when the victim was female. When the victim had a history of infidelity, participants had more negative affective reactions toward the victim and were more likely to empathize with the perpetrator. Moreover, when participants received empathy instructions they were more likely to empathize with a male victim and women were more likely to view the crime of nonconsensual pornography as a serious violation of privacy. These findings suggest that extra-legal factors may contribute to victims and perpetrators being punished inequitably. This has important implications in terms of how much social support the victim may receive, as well as for preventing the sharing of revenge porn photographs in the future.

Included in

Psychology Commons