Judging gender: The role of hypergender ideology, emotional communication, and social dominance orientation in evaluations of sexual assault victims and perpetrators

Date of Completion

January 2010


Speech Communication|GLBT Studies|Sociology, Criminology and Penology




The current study was a 2 (participant sex male / female) X 2 (male victim / female victim) X 2 (transsexual victim / non-transsexual victim) between-subjects experimental design. Participants were exposed to one of four fictional newspaper reports about a sexual assault in which the victim was described as either: (a) a non-transsexual male, (b) a non-transsexual female, (c) a transsexual female-to-male, or (d) a transsexual male-to-female. Participants were asked to: (1) recommend a prison sentence for the perpetrator (range = 0–10 years), and (2) recommend a civil / monetary compensatory award to the victim (range = $0–$100,000). Results showed no significant difference in prison sentence and victim compensation for transsexual or non-transsexual victims and for male or female victims. However, male participants were found to recommend significantly longer prison sentences for the perpetrator and lower compensation amounts for the victim. Results also indicated that social dominance orientation moderated the sex difference in prison sentences, but not for victim compensation amounts. Limitations and recommendations for future research are discussed. ^