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Who Is Helpful? Examining the Relationship Between Ambivalent Sexism, Right-Wing Authoritarianism, and Intentions to Help Domestic Violence Victims:

Who Is Helpful? Examining the Relationship Between Ambivalent Sexism, Right-Wing... When victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) victims seek help from informal supporters (e.g., family, friends, etc.), they are often revictimized and blamed. The Supportive Attitudes Toward Victim Scale (SAVS) was developed to examine others’ intentions to help IPV victims. A factor analysis was conducted and four subscales of the SAVS were developed. A fictional scenario depicting a female IPV victim disclosing about being being abused by her male partner was adminsitered online to a sample of 184 college students. The study included two conditions (i.e., victim’s decision to stay with her abuser and victim’s decision to leave her abuser) to which participants were randomly assigned. Particpants completed several questionannires including the SAVS. The relationships between benevolent sexism (BS), hostile sexism (HS), right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and intentions to help IPV victims were examined. Additionally, how victim blame varied by gender and scenario was also measured. BS, HS, and RWA were predictive of different SAVS subscales, and the victim was blamed more by males and in the scenario where the victim decided to stay with her abuser. Implications for IPV intervention research and programs are discussed. Keywords intimate partner violence (IPV), intentions to help, informal supporters, ambivalent sexism, right-wing authoritarianism Male perpetrated violence against women remains as a Victims of IPV often face long-standing and detrimental pressing issue around the world (Devries et al., 2013). consequences (Kimerling et al., 2009) including severe Intimate partner violence (IPV) represents one of the main physical injuries, mental health problems, and being unable forms of violence against women and the physical form of to maintain gainful employment due to sustained physical this abuse includes any physical violence (e.g., hitting, abuse and health problems (Garcia-Moreno & Watts, 2011). punching, pushing, choking, slapping, etc.) inflicted by one Due to the myriad of debilitating repercussions that IPV vic- partner onto another in a romantic relationship (Black et al., tims endure, most remain with their abuser for several years 2011). While estimates vary, a multi-country report from the (Yamawaki, Ochoa-Shipp, Pulsipher, Harlos, & Swindler, World Health Organization (WHO; 2012) conveyed that 2012). The injuries that IPV victims suffer, and other nega- between 13% and 61% of ever-partnered women reported tive consequences they endure are not isolated events, but having experienced physical violence by a partner and 4% rather, are a constant state for many years. When a victim and 49% of ever-partnered women reported having experi- tries to leave her abusive partner, she often faces many enced severe physical violence by a partner. In the United obstacles (e.g., lack of financial resources, victim blaming, States, about one in four women will be physically abused being unaware of shelters and other services, etc.) and by an intimate partner in their lifetimes (Black et al., 2011). threats of death (Panchanadeswaran & McCloskey, 2007). These estimates are generally lower than what is thought to The largest threat of murder for women around the world is actually occur because of issues of reporting (e.g., victim blaming, fear of perpetrator retaliation), and inconsistency 1 Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA in measurement (Breiding, Black, & Ryan, 2008). Therefore, Corresponding Author: violence against women around the world is more prevalent Christina E. Riley, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, than the estimates described here, and remains unacceptably 1151 Spencer W. Kimball Tower, Provo, UT 84602, USA. high (Bostock, Plumpton, & Pratt, 2009). Email: criley011@gmail.com Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open from a current or former intimate partner (Stöckl et al., Ambivalent Sexism and Negative 2013), with murder by an intimate partner accounting for Attitudes Toward IPV Victims approximately 50% of homicides of women in the United One consistent predictor of negative responses to and victim States alone (Díez et al., 2017). blaming of IPV victims is ambivalent sexism (Durán, Moya, Society is also adversely affected by IPV. Medical care Megías, & Viki, 2010). Conceptualized first by Glick and costs are increased (Robinson & Spilsbury, 2008) because Fiske (1996), ambivalent sexism applies specifically to sex- female IPV victims make twice the amount of hospital visits ism against women and includes two dimensions—hostile than non-victims (Alhabib, Nur, & Jones, 2010). In addition, sexism (HS) and benevolent sexism (BS). HS entails explic- victims’ inability to consistently hold a stable job adversely itly negative and adversarial views of women such as women affects employers as a large proportion of their workforce is seeking “special favors” or trying to “control” men compromised (Garcia-Moreno & Watts, 2011). A recent (Christopher & Mull, 2006). BS, however, refers to seem- report from the McKinsey Global Institute (Hunt et al., 2016) ingly positive but still sexist views of women such as women revealed that the United States loses US$4.9 billion annually being “pure” and “helpless” creatures that “need” protection due to increased medical costs, loss in productivity, and loss from men (Durán et al., 2010; Glick & Fiske, 1996). Both in earnings results for female IPV victims. Addressing IPV poles of ambivalent sexism have been found to predict greater through research and other prevention methods is not only victim blaming of IPV victims (Flood & Pease, 2009). critical for victims, but for society as well. Valor-Segura, Expósito, and Moya (2011) investigated the relationship between ambivalent sexism, victim blaming, and Secondary Victimization and Its Effect perpetrator exoneration in a fictional IPV scenario. They found on the Victim that participants who scored higher on HS blamed the victim and exonerated the perpetrated more. The authors argued that While shelters and formal support (e.g., IPV shelter staff, this finding is consistent with previous research that shows police, medical staff, etc.) are important and necessary links that people with more traditional gender role attitudes tend to for victims to escape from their abusive relationships, it is endorse violence against women more than people with egali- often informal supporters (e.g., family, friends, neighbors, tarian gender role attitudes. Other research conveys that BS is etc.) to whom victims turn to first for help (Chabot, Tracy, also related to attitudes that legitimize violence against Manning, & Poisson, 2009). Previous research indicates women, and blame the victim (Koepke, Eyssel, & Bohner, that the responses from informal supporters predict the like- 2014). Therefore, both HS and BS are predictive of negative lihood of victims seeking help from formal support systems and unsupportive attitudes toward IPV victims. (e.g., the police, legal advocates, etc.; Sylaska & Edwards, 2014). However, there are many instances in which informal supporters inadvertently blame the victim for the abuse she Gender and Negative Attitudes Toward endures (Trotter & Allen, 2009). This occurs when informal IPV Victims supporters tell the victim she is at fault for the abuse, mini- Gender is another predictive factor of negative attitudes mize the abuse, and excuse the actions of the perpetrator toward IPV victims (Alfredsson, Ask, & Borgstede, 2016). (Edwards, Dardis, & Gidycz, 2012). In some instances, fam- Although there are mixed results, previous research indicates ily members and other informal supporters give an ultima- that men are more likely to blame victims of dating violence, tum to the victim and will only offer help if they follow their rape, and IPV more than women (Nabors, Dietz, & Jasinski, demands for them to leave immediately, which victims 2006). Some researchers argue that this gender difference is report as very unhelpful (Moe, 2007). When a victim faces due to adherence to traditional gender roles, which men tend these types of negative responses and is blamed, this is to endorse more than women (Flood & Pease, 2006). While called secondary victimization (Ullman, 2010). After expe- the underlying reason requires further investigation, gender riencing secondary victimization, a victim is much less remains as a consistent predictive factor of negative attitudes likely to seek out further help and support, is much more toward IPV victims (Reidy, Shirk, Sloan, & Zeichner, 2009; likely to remain in an abusive relationship (Policastro & Yamawaki, Ostenson, & Brown, 2009). Payne, 2013) and face threats of violent reprisals from their abusers or death as a consequence (Kim & Gray, 2008). Therefore, supportive responses from informal supporters Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) are of the utmost importance as the strongest predictors of a and Negative Attitudes Toward IPV victim leaving her abusive relationship are support from Victims others and the knowledge of available resources (Chang et al., 2010). It is critical, then, to investigate and understand RWA is another factor that is related to negative attitudes which factors contribute to negative and unsupportive atti- toward female victims of violence (Gerger, Kley, Bohner, & tudes toward victims of IPV in the effort to reduce the inci- Siebler, 2007). RWA is a personality factor that includes dence of secondary victimization. three components as defined by Altemeyer (1996), including Riley and Yamawaki 3 submissiveness to authority figures, endorsing conventional including two conditions in a hypothetical scenario with a thought, and a tendency to aggress in ways that are accept- female victim of IPV: a leave condition and a stay condition. able to authority figures. Strict adherence to traditional views In the leave condition, the victim decides to leave her abuser such as gender roles and upholding conventional values are and in the stay condition, the female victim decides to stay related to negative attitudes toward and victim blaming of with her abuser. Our hypotheses included the following: IPV victims (Valor-Segura et al., 2011). RWA is predictive of punitive attitudes toward female victims of violence Hypotheses (Hockett, Saucier, Hoffman, Smith, & Craig, 2009) and is, therefore, worth considering as a predictive factor of victim Hypothesis 1: Participants who score higher on RWA will blaming and less supportive attitudes toward IPV victims. show less intention to support the victim and will blame the victim more; Hypothesis 2: Participants who score higher on BS will The Victim’s Decision and Negative show less intention to support the victim and will blame Attitudes Toward IPV Victims the victim more; Hypothesis 3: Participants who score higher on HS will Another factor that has not been explored much in previous show less intention to support the victim and will blame research, but that influences others’ perceptions of IPV victims, the victim more; is the victim’s decision to stay with or leave her abuser Hypothesis 4: Participants in the stay condition will show (Yamawaki et al., 2012). There are many obstacles and threats less intention to support the victim and will blame the vic- to safety that prevent victims from successfully leaving their tim more than participants in the leave condition; and abusers (Kim & Gray, 2008) and, consequently, about 50% of Hypothesis 5: Male participants will show less intention victims who attempt to leave their abusers eventually return to to support the victim and will blame the victim more than them (Roberts, Wolfer, & Mele, 2008). The majority of previ- female participants. ous research on outside observers’ attitudes toward IPV victims did not examine how the victim’s decision to stay or leave her abuser influences victim blaming and other attitudes toward the Methods victim. As Yamawaki et al. (2012) argued, examining how Participants observers judge a victim who decides to leave or stay with her abuser is an important factor to consider as this better reflects The participants in this study were undergraduate students the reality that many victims face. This is a newer consideration who were recruited from introductory psychology classes in in IPV violence research, and warrants more attention. a large, private university in the Western part of the United States. There were 184 total participants made up of 108 women and 76 men. The majority of the students in this The Current Study study identified as White/Caucasian (85%), while 5.3% As discussed previously, when an IPV victim faces blame identified as Hispanic/Latino, 1.6% identified as Asian, 4.8% and other negative types of reactions (i.e., secondary victim- identified as Mixed Race, and the remaining 2.7% identified ization) from her informal supporters (family, friends, etc.), as Other or did not specify their race/ethnicity. The average these deter victims from seeking aid from formal resources age of the participants was 20.59, with a range of 17 to 52 (e.g., shelters, police, etc.). Some consistent predictors of years, and 88.2% were single, 10.8% were married, and 1% negative attitudes toward IPV victims and victim blaming were divorced. The participants were informed that the pur- include hostile sexism (HS), benevolent sexism (BS), gen- pose of this study was to examine how individuals view the der, and the victim’s decision to stay or leave her abuser. interactions between intimate partners. Before conducting While much of the IPV literature has focused on what this study, the investigators sought Institutional Review accounts for secondary victimization, exploring and under- Board approval from their university and the experimenters standing what contributes to positive and supportive attitudes treated all participants in accordance with the ethical guide- toward victims is rarely investigated, and is of great impor- lines of the American Psychological Association (Keller & tance. Consequently, the current study sought to explore Lee, 2003). Confidentiality and anonymity were maintained which factors are predictive of positive and supportive atti- for all participants. Participants were compensated by receiv- tudes toward IPV victims who disclose. ing extra credit in their introductory psychology courses. In summary, the current study explored factors that predict an informal supporter’s intentions to help a female IPV victim Materials and Measures in a heterosexual relationship and factors related to victim blaming. Specifically, the effects of RWA, BS, and HS on Scenarios. A fictional scenario was developed and used in intentions to help an IPV victim were investigated. In addition, this study. The scenario describes a victim who discloses differences in victim blaming by gender and the victim’s deci- about her abuse to a friend. The following is the scenario that sion to leave or stay with her abuser were also examined by was presented to participants: 4 SAGE Open Imagine that you have a close friend named Lucy and you not care about the effect this is having on her family and have been friends for several years. One day, when you and friends (reverse scored)”; and (h) “I will tell Lucy that she Lucy are spending time together, she confides in you that her would experience PTSD and depression in the future if she husband, Jacob, lost control of his anger during a recent dis- does not leave Jacob (reverse scored).” This subscale is sup- agreement. Jacob became so angry that he beat Lucy. This is posed to evaluate the degree to which participants endorse not the first time that Lucy has confided in you about Jacob’s impositions of their judgment on the victim. The third factor anger and violent behavior; in fact, Lucy has discussed with included three items and was named the Traditional Value for you a similar situation several times in the past. Intimate Relationships subscale (accounting for 9.61% of the To manipulate the impact of the victim’s decision to stay variance), and the included items were (i) “If she doesn’t with or leave her abuser, participants who were assigned to want this to happen again, she shouldn’t make Jacob angry the stay scenario read the following instructions: “Imagine (reverse scored)”; (j) “If Lucy leaves Jacob, she will break that after she has told you everything about what happened the sacred marriage covenant (reverse scored)”; and (k) with Jacob that Lucy has now informed you that she has “This is a couple’s quarrel and no one else should be involved decided to remain with Jacob.” Likewise, participants who (reverse scored).” This subscale aims to evaluate the degree were assigned to the leave scenario read the following to which participants endorse adherence to traditional values instructions: “Imagine that after she has told you everything for a male–female intimate relationship. Finally, the fourth about what happened with Jacob that Lucy has now informed factor consisted of two items and was called the Insisting to you that she has decided to leave Jacob.” Work Out Relationship subscale (accounting for 6.84% of the variance), which contained (l) “I will insist that Lucy and Supportive Attitudes Toward Victim Scale (SAVS). The SAVS Jacob together should receive couple’s counseling (reverse was developed for the purpose of this study to assess the scored)”; and (m) “Lucy should stay with Jacob because degree to which an individual held supportive attitudes toward things will get better (reverse scored).” This subscale is sup- the hypothetical victim. We used Internet searches in popu- posed to assess the degree to which respondents endorse the lar media, examined scientific studies (Chabot et al., 2009; idea that the victim should stay with her abuser. The internal Kaukinen, Meyer, & Akers, 2013; Overstreet & Quinn, 2013; consistencies, a measured by Conbach’s alpha analysis, for Plichta, 2007; Postmus, Severson, Berry, & Yoo, 2009; Syl- the Insisting Victim to Leave subscale, Imposing Judgment aska & Edwards, 2014; West & Wandrei, 2002; Yam, 2000), subscale, Traditional Value for Intimate Relationships sub- and consulted with mental health professionals, and found 15 scale, and Work Out Relationship subscale of the current items that are inappropriate responses for support toward IPV study were .76, .75, .69, and .60, respectively. victims. Participants rated all 15 items on a 7-point Likert- type scale to convey the likelihood of stating such responses. Victim Blame Attribution (VBA) scale. Another dependent The items on the SAVS ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 measure in this study was the degree to which participants (strongly agree). Higher scores reflected a greater intention to placed blame on the IPV victim for being hit by her part- support the victim while lower scores conveyed less intended ner. This was measured by the VBA scale, which was devel- support for the victim. oped by Yamawaki et al. (2009). This measure was modified A principal component analysis with a varimax rotation for this study by changing the names to Lucy and Jacob was conducted on the 15 items with the present data and a for the victim and abuser, respectively. The VBA scale is a four-factor solution (based on eigenvalues >1) was yielded. 5-item scale designed to measure the degree to which par- Items were assigned to a factor if they loaded uniquely on ticipants blame a victim of IPV for the violence she endures. one factor at .50 or higher. The first factor involved five It includes the following items: (1) “Lucy had some fault items and was termed the Insisting Victim to Leave subscale in this incident,” (2) “Lucy deserved to be hit,” (3) “Lucy (accounting for 24.30% of the variance), and the items in this unconsciously wants to be in an abusive relationship,” (4) subscale were (a) “I will insist that Lucy leaves Jacob “Lucy has some responsibility for creating the situation,” (reverse scored)”; (b) “If Lucy stays with Jacob, I will and (5) “Lucy should be blamed for being in the situa- despise her decision (reverse scored)”; (c) “Lucy does not tion.” Participants rated these items on a Likert-type scale have any choice but to leave Jacob (reverse scored)”; (d) “I that ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). will only provide support if Lucy leaves Jacob (reverse Higher scores on this measure indicated greater victim blam- scored)”; and (e) “I will tell Lucy to leave Jacob right away ing. The internal reliability for the VBA scale used in this (reverse scored).” This subscale is purported to assess the study was Cronbach’s α = .83. degree to which respondents endorse insistence of the victim leaving her abuser. The second factor included three items Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) scale. The RWA scale and was labeled as the Imposing Judgment subscale (account- was developed by Altemeyer (1981) to measure conservative ing for 19.46% of the variance). The items for this subscale ideology. RWA is defined as including three dimensions: were (f) “I will ask Lucy why she does not make changes in submissiveness to authority figures, endorsing conventional her life (reverse scored)”; (g) “I will ask Lucy why she does thought, and a tendency to aggress in ways that are Riley and Yamawaki 5 acceptable to authority figures (Altemeyer, 1996; Benjamin, In the second part of the study, all participants initially 2006). For the purposes of this study, the political orientation read an identical fictional scenario (see Methods section) of the RWA scale that is sometimes focused on was not of regardless of which condition they were randomly assigned interest, but rather, the negative attitudes toward members of to. The fictional scenario included all of the information groups whose behavior is unacceptable to authority figures regarding Lucy and Jacob’s IPV incident and Lucy’s disclo- was of interest. An abbreviated version of the RWA scale sure; however, at this point in the study, the scenario did not that consists of 22 items rated on a 7-point Likert-type scale include Lucy’s decision to stay with or to leave Jacob. After was (Altemeyer, 1996). The scale ranges from 1 (strongly reading the fictional scenario, all participants answered ques- disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). An example of the items on tions from the SAVS. Participants assigned to the condition this scale is, “Women should have to promise to obey their in which the victim decides to remain with her abuser were husbands when they get married.” Higher scores reflected a then informed of Lucy’s decision to remain with Jacob. greater endorsement of conservative ideology while lower Likewise, participants assigned to the condition where the scores conveyed less endorsement of conservative ideas. victim decides to leave her abuser were then informed of The reliability of the RWA scale used in this study was Lucy’s decision to leave Jacob. Participants then answered Cronbach’s α = .87. questions from the VBA scale. Ambivalent Sexism Inventory. Developed by Glick and Analytic Strategy Fiske (1996), the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI) is a 22-item measure with two subscales—benevolent sexism To test the hypotheses for the current study, statistical analy- (BS) and hostile sexism (HS). BS represents an endorsement ses were conducted using SPSS version 24. These included a of views of women in which women are “pure,” “submis- series of simultaneous multiple regression analyses to test sive,” and require “protection” provided by men. HS, how- for the predictive relationship between RWA, BS, and HS, ever, represents the other subtype of ambivalent sexism in gender, and the outcome variables: supportive attitudes which negative stereotypes of women who defy traditional toward the victim and VBA. In addition, a 2 (gender) × 2 gender-prescribed behavior are endorsed. These include (scenario) multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) on ideas like “women are merely seductresses,” “women are SAVS and VBA was performed to test for main effects of trying to control men,” and “women do not deserve the same gender and scenario on supportive attitudes toward the vic- opportunities as men.” An example of items on the HS sub- tim and victim blame and for potential interaction effect scale is, “When women lose to men in fair competitions they between the independent variables and the outcome vari- typically complain about being discriminated against”; an ables. Table 1 provides descriptive statistics for and zero- example of items on the BS subscale is, “Women should be order correlations between the variables used in the study. cherished and protected by men.” Participants responded to the items by using a 7-point Likert-type scale. Higher scores Results represented greater endorsement of ambivalent sexism. The reported reliability for the BS and the HS subscales in this Predictive Roles of RWA, BS, and HS on Victim study were Cronbach’s α = .84 and α = .87, respectively. Blame and Intentions to Support the Victim To test the predictive roles of RWA, BS, HS, and gender on Procedure victim blaming and intentions to support the victim, a series of simultaneous multiple regression analyses were conducted. Participants were recruited in their psychology courses and completed this study through an online university system Multiple regression analysis for victim blame. The overall known as SONA. An equal number of participants were ran- regression model was significant F(4, 166) = 4.68, p < .05, domly assigned to each of the study’s conditions (i.e., vic- R = .10; indicating that the predictors taken together tim’s decision to leave or stay). The questionnaires and accounted for a significant amount of the variance in victim scenario were administered electronically via a Qualtrics blame despite only accounting for about 10% of the vari- web-based survey (Qualtrics.com), and only participants ance. When examined separately, however, gender was the who gave their consent were able to proceed in completing only significant predictor that accounted for unique variance the study. This study was divided into two parts. In the first of victim blame, ß = –.29, t(166) = −3.57, p < .001 (see part of the study, all participants completed the RWA scale, Table 2). the ASIy, and a demographic survey that gathered the partici- pants’ age, gender, marital status, and race and/or ethnicity. Multiple regression analyses for supportive attitudes toward the After completing the first part of the study, participants were victim (SAVS). The overall regression model was significant informed that they would receive an email link to complete a F(4, 163) = 420, p < .05, R = .09; indicating that the predic- second study after two days that would allow them to earn tors taken together accounted for a significant amount of the more credit if they chose to participate. 6 SAGE Open Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for and Zero-Order Correlations Between Variables Used in the Study. M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1. Victim Blame 14.32 5.98 — 2. Leave Abuser 18.78 5.46 −.14 — 3. Work Out Relationship 7.48 2.39 .28** −.41** — 4. Traditional Value 6.94 3.13 .42** −.17** .34** — 5. Imposed Judgment 10.52 4.17 .17* .22* .09 .19** — 6. Authoritarianism 87.38 16.59 .14 −.16* .26** .35** .19** — 7. Hostile Sexism 43.51 10.77 .17* .00 .05 .32** .25** .42** — 8. Benevolent Sexism 48.07 10.05 .13 −.27** .31** .20** −.02 .44** .10 — *p < .05. **p < .01. Table 2. Multiple Regression Analyses of Predictive Relationship Table 3. Multiple Regression Analyses of Predictive Relationship Between HS, BS, RWA, Gender, and Victim Blame. Between HS, BS, RWA, Gender, and SAVS. Unstandardized Standardized Unstandardized Standardized coefficient coefficient coefficient coefficient Predictors Β SE β t p Predictors Β SE β t p RWA .02 .03 .07 0.74 ns RWA .07 .04 .19 2.11 * HS .08 .05 .14 1.72 ns HS .13 .06 .19 2.24 * BS −.03 .05 −.04 −0.45 ns BS −.06 .07 −.08 −0.88 ns Gender −3.54 .99 −.29 −3.57 *** Gender −1.60 1.22 −.11 −1.31 ns Note. HS = hostile sexism; BS = benevolent sexism; RWA = right-wing Note. HS = hostile sexism; BS = benevolent sexism; RWA = right-wing authoritarianism. authoritarianism; SAVS = Supportive Attitudes Toward Victim Scale. ***p < .001. *p < .05. variance in SAVS despite only accounting for approximately RWA scores were inclined to insist that the victim work out 9% of the variance. When examined separately, both RWA (ß her relationship with her abuser by going through couple’s =.07 t[163] = −2.11, p < .05) and HS (ß = .13 t[163] = 2.24, counseling and/or that she stay because everything will be p < .05) were significant predictors that accounted for unique better. As for the Traditional Value for Intimate Relationships variance of SAVS. subscale, the results revealed that both RWA and BS were In addition to examining the predictive role of HS, BS, significant predictors, ß = .20, t(173) = 2.27, p < .05; ß = .23; and RWA on supportive attitudes toward the victim as a t(173) = 2.89, p < .01, respectively, and explained a signifi- whole, the relationship between these predictors and the sub- cant proportion of variance in this subscale’s scores, F(3, 2 2 scales of the SAVS scale were also examined. Gender was 173) = 8.47, p < .001, R = .13, R adj = .11. Namely, respon- not included in these analyses as it was only a significant dents with higher BS and RWA scores were prone to insist predictor of victim blame and not for SAVS previously. As that the wife should not make her husband angry, leaving her for the Insisting Victim to Leave subscale, the results of the husband means breaking the marriage covenant, and no one regression analysis indicated that BS was the only significant should be involved in a couple’s quarrel. On the Imposing predictor, ß = –.23, t(168) = −2.78, p < .01, and explained a Judgment subscale, the results exhibited that RWA and HS significant proportion of variance in the leaving subscale were significant predictors, ß = .25, t(173) = 2.89, p < .01; ß 2 2 scores, F(3, 171) = 4.39, p < .01, R = .07, R adj = .06. That = .19; t(173) = 2.41, p < .05, respectively, and explained a is, participants with higher BS scores tended to insist that the significant proportion of variance in this subscale’s scores, 2 2 victim needed to leave her abuser or they did not intend to F(3, 173) = 8.09, p < .001, R = .12, R adj = .11. Specifically, provide any support. On the Work Out Relationship sub- participants with high RWA and HS scores tended to impose scale, the results of the multiple regression analysis showed their judgment on the victim by asking why she was not will- that RWA and BS were significant predictors, ß = .21, t(170) ing to change her life, telling her to think about the potential = 2.43, p < .05; ß = .22; t(170) = 2.79, p < .01, respectively, of becoming mentally ill, and asking her to think about and explained a significant proportion of variance in the friends and family who will be affected by her abusive rela- leaving subscale scores, F(3, 170) = 8.21, p < .001, R = .13, tionship. See Table 3 for a summary of the multiple regres- R adj = .11. That means participants with higher BS and sion analyses for SAVS. Riley and Yamawaki 7 views on relationships, endorsement of traditional gender Effects of Scenario and Gender on Supportive roles, and punishment for those who break traditional gen- Attitudes Toward the Victim and VBA der roles (Durán et al., 2010), which is seen as breaking To test the effects of scenario and participants’ gender, a 2 away from an established authority (Benjamin, 2006). (stay or leave condition) × 2 (male and female) MANOVA Therefore, this finding makes sense given previous was performed on supportive attitudes toward the victim and findings. victim blaming. When both the dependent variables were In addition, both RWA and BS were significant predictors considered together, this analysis showed a significant differ- of the Insisting to Work Out Relationship subscale, which ence between men and women, Wilks’s Λ =.96, F (2, 169) = means that participants who scored higher on both the RWA 3.25, p < .05, and = .04, and by scenario (stay vs. leave), and BS measures were more likely to endorse responses Wilks’s Λ = .94, F (2, 169) = 5.13, p < .05, and = .06. p which encouraged the victim to work out her relationship There were main effects for scenario and gender on victim with her abuser without any outside help. These types of blame, with F (1, 170) = 9.65, p < .05, = .05 (Stay: M = p responses are common misconceptions of solutions to IPV 16.12, SD = .64; Leave: M = 13.33, SD = .63) for scenario, and are detrimental to the victim (Policastro & Payne, 2013). and F (1, 170) = 6.50, p < .05, = .04 (Males: M = 16.87, As mentioned previously, both BS and RWA are predictive of SD = .68; Females: M = 13.60, SD = .58) for gender. That is, endorsing traditional views of relationships, gender roles, the participants, who read the scenario in which the victim and punitive attitudes toward dissenting from traditional decided to stay and male participants tended to blame the gender roles (Benjamin, 2006; Durán et al., 2010). As such, victim more than participants who read the scenario where it is understandable that those who scored higher on BS and the victim decided to leave and who were female. The analy- RWA would be more likely to give suggestions to an IPV sis showed no significant main effect for either scenario or victim to “work out” her relationship and that no one else gender on supportive attitudes toward the victim, F(1, 170) = should be involved as these are commonly held traditional 2 2 .00, p = ns, η = .00, and F(1, 170) = .32, p = ns, = .00, p p beliefs (Capezza & Arriaga, 2008). respectively. There was no scenario × gender interaction For the Imposing Judgment subscale, both RWA and HS effect on victim blaming, F(1, 170) = .10, ns, = .00, or for p were significant predictors. Participants who scored higher supportive attitudes toward the victim, F(1, 170) = .07, p = on RWA and HS, then, were more likely to endorse sugges- ns, = .00, respectively. p tions that actually were judgmental in nature toward the vic- tim (e.g., “I will ask Lucy why doesn’t she make changes in her life”). As mentioned previously, HS entails adversarial Discussion views of women as seeking special favors and trying to con- The focus of the current study was to examine informal sup- trol men and represents a different pole of the ambivalent porters’ intentions to help an IPV victim who discloses. RWA sexism spectrum than BS (Glick & Fiske, 1996). The find- and the two valences of ambivalent sexism—BS and HS— ings in this study are consistent with previous research that were explored in relation to a measure created for the pur- show that BS and HS predict different forms of sexism and/ poses of this study, the SAVS. In addition, the effects of an or violence against women with HS predicting violent pro- IPV victim’s decision to remain with or leave her abuser and clivities against women and BS predicting greater victim the participant’s gender on victim blaming were explored in blame for female victims of violence (Durán et al., 2010). In the current study. the current study, BS was related to participants insisting that the victim leave her abuser which although is still unhelpful to IPV victims is a seemingly less harsh intention/statement RWA, BS, HS, and Intentions to Support the compared to the items on the Imposing Judgment subscale Victim that were endorsed by participants who scored higher on HS. RWA, BS, and HS related to the subscales of the SAVS in It is possible that those who scored higher on HS already different ways. Both RWA and BS were significant predic- have negative views toward women, and since the victim tors of the Traditional Value for Intimate Relationships was female, this may have related to the endorsement of subscale. Participants who scored higher on RWA and BS judgmental responses toward the victim. The relationship were more likely to endorse the items on the Traditional between RWA and more judgmental responses may be reflec- Value for Intimate Relationships subscale, which included tive of an authoritarian quality wherein the observer higher items that reflect traditional values for male–female inti- in RWA believes himself or herself to be best suited to decide mate relationships. Such endorsement of traditional values what to do for the victim; which, results in more judgmental (e.g., leaving the abuser is “breaking the sacred marriage responses and suggestions. covenant”) would act as a deterrent to IPV victims from The final subscale that was developed from the original seeking to escape from their abusive relationships since SAVS was the Insisting to Leave subscale, which was related this implies that leaving such a relationship is unsacred or to BS. Participants who scored higher on BS were more wrong. Both RWA and BS are related to more traditional likely to endorse the responses from the Insisting to Leave 8 SAGE Open subscale. As discussed previously, BS is related to views of Gender and Victim Blaming gender and gender roles that are more traditional (Glick & In addition to exploring how the victim’s decision to stay Fiske, 1996). With a more traditional understanding of gen- with or leave her abuser affected victim blaming, gender dif- der and gender roles, women are often seen as “pure” until ferences in victim blaming were also explored. In line with they break or betray their prescribed role in some way. When the study’s prediction and previous research (Flood & Pease, this occurs, women receive harsh criticism and judgment 2009), male participants significantly blamed the victim because they have violated their own “purity” (Capezza & more than female participants. Females may blame IPV vic- Arriaga, 2008). Indeed, previous research shows that BS is a tims less because females can better empathize with the consistent predictor of victim blaming and negative attitudes female victim in the situation and, therefore, place less blame toward IPV victims (Durán et al., 2010). It is possible that compared to males (Beeble, Post, Bybee, & Sullivan, 2008). those who endorse BS more may explain the cause of the This difference, while replicated in other studies, is not abuse for IPV victims as stemming from a flaw in or wrong- always consistent (Valor-Segura et al., 2011). Some research- doing of the victim, rather than focusing on the abuser. As a ers postulate that the inconsistent findings may be because result, it is necessary to insist for the victim to leave since it the gender difference is reflective of the endorsement of tra- is her “fault.” ditional gender roles (Flood & Pease, 2009), with men more often endorsing more traditional gender roles than women The Victim’s Decision and Victim Blaming (Alfredsson et al., 2016) rather than gender alone. In the cur- rent study, a significant gender difference was found in vic- Another area of focus in the current study was the effect of tim blaming. This difference could be attributable to the the victim’s decision to stay with her partner on VBA. As participants’ gender alone or to higher endorsement of tradi- hypothesized and consistent with previous research tional gender roles among male participants. Future studies (Policastro & Payne, 2013), the victim’s decision to stay should explore this in more depth to better determine the rea- with her partner was a significant predictor of increased sons for this effect of gender differences on victim blaming. victim blame. Participants assigned to the condition in which the victim decided to remain with her abuser blamed the victim significantly more than participants in the condi- Limitations tion in which the victim decided to leave her abuser. When a victim remains with her abuser, outside observers assume The current study has several limitations. One limitation is that she accepts the abuse she is enduring and, therefore, is the use of a convenience sample of college students in the more deserving of blame than a victim who decides to leave current project and the real-world generalizability of the cur- her abuser (Kim & Gray, 2008). Examining the victim’s rent findings. However, according to Miller’s (2011) review intentions to leave or remain with her abuser is an impor- of recent surveys of U.S. college students, 13% to 42% of tant area of focus as the majority of IPV victims face students in these samples indicated perpetrating physical numerous obstacles that constrain them from being able to violence against and/or being victimized by a partner in a leave successfully (Panchanadeswaran & McCloskey, dating relationship. The findings from this study are, there- 2007). Some of the common barriers include financial fore, important for this population. However, future studies dependence, the presence of children, and lack of access to should focus on responses from informal supporters in or knowledge about appropriate resources (Kim & Gray, applied or real-world settings (e.g., neighbors, family mem- 2008; Overstreet & Quinn, 2013). In addition to these bers, members of religious communities, etc.) as informal obstacles, female IPV victims risk losing their lives, with supporters’ responses are critical in IPV victims seeking and 70% of all femicides globally committed by a male intimate receiving proper aid (Chang et al., 2010). partner (Zeoli & Webster, 2010). As a result, it is extremely The SAVS has potential weaknesses and findings related to arduous and dangerous for victims to leave their abusers. it should be taken with caution. The measure may be more of a Despite this, outside observers who are uninformed about reflection of what observers think is appropriate to do to help IPV often misjudge the reasons why the victim remains rather than capturing their intention to help and support the vic- with her abuser (Sprague et al., 2013). Consequently, vic- tim. In addition, the reliabilities for each of the subscales were tims who remain with their abusers may face greater sec- within the range of acceptable reliability in the social sciences ondary victimization from their informal supporters (α = .60–.80; Cooksey, 2014). Consequently, the findings in (Yamawaki et al., 2012). This in turn would deter victims this study related to the SAVS measure should be interpreted from receiving proper aid that is necessary for them to cautiously. It is recommended that a different scale be devel- escape their abusive relationships (Ullman, 2010). oped with greater reliability for future research involving out- Therefore, understanding how the victim’s decision to stay side observers’ intentions to help and support the victim. or leave plays a role in outside observers’ perceptions of Finally, the current study also focused only on a married IPV victims is crucial as it contributes to the likelihood of female victim in a heterosexual relationship. Future research victims seeking out and gaining access to vital resources. should investigate how the findings from this study compare Riley and Yamawaki 9 for different types of relationships, like homosexual couples, ORCID iD as IPV occurs in same-sex couples as well (Ard & Makadon, Christina E. Riley https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3848-6531 2011). Including same-sex and other types of couples from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) community References would provide insights into how potential intersections of homophobia and prejudice toward IPV victims relate since Alfredsson, H., Ask, K., & Borgstede, C. (2016). Beliefs about inti- mate partner violence: A survey of the Swedish general public. prejudice persists against these community members today Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57, 57-64. (Hooghe, Claes, Harell, Quintelier, & Dejaeghere, 2010). Alhabib, S., Nur, U., & Jones, R. (2010). Domestic violence against women: Systematic review of prevalence stud- Implications and Future Directions ies. Journal of Family Violence, 25, 369-382. doi:10.1007/ s10896-009-9298-4 The current project has several implications for informal Altemeyer, B. (1981). Right-wing authoritarianism. Winnipeg, supporters and IPV victims. The first implication is related to Manitoba, Canada: University of Manitoba Press. the SAVS created for this study. The items on the SAVS rep- Altemeyer, B. (1996). The authoritarian specter. Cambridge, MA: resent what one should not do when an IPV victim discloses Harvard University Press. and, as a result, these items may reflect what people often Ard, K. L., & Makadon, H. J. (2011). Addressing intimate partner think they should do in this situation (e.g., “I will tell Lucy to violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 26, 930-933. leave Jacob”; “I will only help Lucy if she leaves Jacob”). Beeble, M. L., Post, L. A., Bybee, D., & Sullivan, C. M. (2008). Therefore, it should be noted that this measure does not nec- Factors related to willingness to help survivors of intimate essarily convey informal supporters’ intentions to help or partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 23, 1713- not. Instead, the SAVS may capture what they think they should do in this situation. As such, it is important to note the Benjamin, A. J. (2006). The relationship between right-wing findings from this study should be interpreted cautiously. authoritarianism and attitudes toward violence: Further In addition, the subscales of the SAVS may convey that validation of the Attitudes Toward Violence Scale. Social there are different types of aid and support for IPV victims. Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 34, The subscales of the SAVS should be explored in future stud- 923-926. ies to determine whether the findings here can be replicated Black, M. C., Basile, K. C., Breiding, M. 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Unemployment among women: ugly: Domestic violence survivors’ experiences with their Riley and Yamawaki 11 informal social networks. American Journal of Community Yamawaki, N., Ostenson, J., & Brown, C. R. (2009). The functions Psychology, 43, 221-231. doi:10.1007/s10464-009-9232-1 of gender role traditionality, ambivalent sexism, injury, and Ullman, S. E. (2010). Talking about sexual assault: Society’s frequency of assault on domestic violence perception: A study response to survivors. Washington, DC: American between Japanese and American college students. Violence Psychological Association. Against Women, 15, 1126-1142. Valor-Segura, I., Expósito, F., & Moya, M. (2011). Victim blam- Zeoli, A. M., & Webster, D. W. (2010). Effects of domestic vio- ing and exoneration of the perpetrator in domestic violence: lence policies, alcohol taxes and police staffing levels on inti- The role of beliefs in a just world and ambivalent sexism. The mate partner homicide in large US cities. Injury Prevention, Spanish Journal of Psychology, 14, 195-206. 16, 90-95. West, A., & Wandrei, M. L. (2002). Intimate partner vio- lence: A model for predicting interventions by informal Author Biographies helpers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, 972-986. doi:10.1177/0886260502017009004 Christina E. Riley recently graduated with her degree in psychol- World Health Organization. (2012). Understanding and ogy from Brigham Young University (April, 2018). She was addressing violence against women. Geneva, Switzerland: awarded a Fulbright-Nehru research fellowship and is currently a Author. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bit- Fulbright-Nehru research scholar in India. Her research interests stream/10665/77432/1/WHO_RHR_12.36_eng.pdf include cross-culturally examining effective ways of preventing Yam, M. (2000). Seen but not heard: Battered women’s perceptions intimate partner violence. of the ED experience. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 26, 464- Niwako Yamawaki is an associate professor and the associate 470. doi:10.1067/men.2000.110432 chair of the Psychology department at Brigham Young University. Yamawaki, N., Ochoa-Shipp, M., Pulsipher, C., Harlos, A., & Her research interests are cross-cultural and include others’ percep- Swindler, S. (2012). Perceptions of domestic violence: The tions of and negative stigma towards sexual assault, rape and inti- effects of domestic violence myths, victim’s relationship with mate partner violence victims. She also researchers how negative her abuser, and the decision to return to her abuser. Journal of stigma affects mental health literacy. Interpersonal Violence, 27, 3195-3212. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SAGE Open SAGE

Who Is Helpful? Examining the Relationship Between Ambivalent Sexism, Right-Wing Authoritarianism, and Intentions to Help Domestic Violence Victims:

SAGE Open , Volume 8 (2): 1 – Jun 18, 2018

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Abstract

When victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) victims seek help from informal supporters (e.g., family, friends, etc.), they are often revictimized and blamed. The Supportive Attitudes Toward Victim Scale (SAVS) was developed to examine others’ intentions to help IPV victims. A factor analysis was conducted and four subscales of the SAVS were developed. A fictional scenario depicting a female IPV victim disclosing about being being abused by her male partner was adminsitered online to a sample of 184 college students. The study included two conditions (i.e., victim’s decision to stay with her abuser and victim’s decision to leave her abuser) to which participants were randomly assigned. Particpants completed several questionannires including the SAVS. The relationships between benevolent sexism (BS), hostile sexism (HS), right-wing authoritarianism (RWA), and intentions to help IPV victims were examined. Additionally, how victim blame varied by gender and scenario was also measured. BS, HS, and RWA were predictive of different SAVS subscales, and the victim was blamed more by males and in the scenario where the victim decided to stay with her abuser. Implications for IPV intervention research and programs are discussed. Keywords intimate partner violence (IPV), intentions to help, informal supporters, ambivalent sexism, right-wing authoritarianism Male perpetrated violence against women remains as a Victims of IPV often face long-standing and detrimental pressing issue around the world (Devries et al., 2013). consequences (Kimerling et al., 2009) including severe Intimate partner violence (IPV) represents one of the main physical injuries, mental health problems, and being unable forms of violence against women and the physical form of to maintain gainful employment due to sustained physical this abuse includes any physical violence (e.g., hitting, abuse and health problems (Garcia-Moreno & Watts, 2011). punching, pushing, choking, slapping, etc.) inflicted by one Due to the myriad of debilitating repercussions that IPV vic- partner onto another in a romantic relationship (Black et al., tims endure, most remain with their abuser for several years 2011). While estimates vary, a multi-country report from the (Yamawaki, Ochoa-Shipp, Pulsipher, Harlos, & Swindler, World Health Organization (WHO; 2012) conveyed that 2012). The injuries that IPV victims suffer, and other nega- between 13% and 61% of ever-partnered women reported tive consequences they endure are not isolated events, but having experienced physical violence by a partner and 4% rather, are a constant state for many years. When a victim and 49% of ever-partnered women reported having experi- tries to leave her abusive partner, she often faces many enced severe physical violence by a partner. In the United obstacles (e.g., lack of financial resources, victim blaming, States, about one in four women will be physically abused being unaware of shelters and other services, etc.) and by an intimate partner in their lifetimes (Black et al., 2011). threats of death (Panchanadeswaran & McCloskey, 2007). These estimates are generally lower than what is thought to The largest threat of murder for women around the world is actually occur because of issues of reporting (e.g., victim blaming, fear of perpetrator retaliation), and inconsistency 1 Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA in measurement (Breiding, Black, & Ryan, 2008). Therefore, Corresponding Author: violence against women around the world is more prevalent Christina E. Riley, Department of Psychology, Brigham Young University, than the estimates described here, and remains unacceptably 1151 Spencer W. Kimball Tower, Provo, UT 84602, USA. high (Bostock, Plumpton, & Pratt, 2009). Email: criley011@gmail.com Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open from a current or former intimate partner (Stöckl et al., Ambivalent Sexism and Negative 2013), with murder by an intimate partner accounting for Attitudes Toward IPV Victims approximately 50% of homicides of women in the United One consistent predictor of negative responses to and victim States alone (Díez et al., 2017). blaming of IPV victims is ambivalent sexism (Durán, Moya, Society is also adversely affected by IPV. Medical care Megías, & Viki, 2010). Conceptualized first by Glick and costs are increased (Robinson & Spilsbury, 2008) because Fiske (1996), ambivalent sexism applies specifically to sex- female IPV victims make twice the amount of hospital visits ism against women and includes two dimensions—hostile than non-victims (Alhabib, Nur, & Jones, 2010). In addition, sexism (HS) and benevolent sexism (BS). HS entails explic- victims’ inability to consistently hold a stable job adversely itly negative and adversarial views of women such as women affects employers as a large proportion of their workforce is seeking “special favors” or trying to “control” men compromised (Garcia-Moreno & Watts, 2011). A recent (Christopher & Mull, 2006). BS, however, refers to seem- report from the McKinsey Global Institute (Hunt et al., 2016) ingly positive but still sexist views of women such as women revealed that the United States loses US$4.9 billion annually being “pure” and “helpless” creatures that “need” protection due to increased medical costs, loss in productivity, and loss from men (Durán et al., 2010; Glick & Fiske, 1996). Both in earnings results for female IPV victims. Addressing IPV poles of ambivalent sexism have been found to predict greater through research and other prevention methods is not only victim blaming of IPV victims (Flood & Pease, 2009). critical for victims, but for society as well. Valor-Segura, Expósito, and Moya (2011) investigated the relationship between ambivalent sexism, victim blaming, and Secondary Victimization and Its Effect perpetrator exoneration in a fictional IPV scenario. They found on the Victim that participants who scored higher on HS blamed the victim and exonerated the perpetrated more. The authors argued that While shelters and formal support (e.g., IPV shelter staff, this finding is consistent with previous research that shows police, medical staff, etc.) are important and necessary links that people with more traditional gender role attitudes tend to for victims to escape from their abusive relationships, it is endorse violence against women more than people with egali- often informal supporters (e.g., family, friends, neighbors, tarian gender role attitudes. Other research conveys that BS is etc.) to whom victims turn to first for help (Chabot, Tracy, also related to attitudes that legitimize violence against Manning, & Poisson, 2009). Previous research indicates women, and blame the victim (Koepke, Eyssel, & Bohner, that the responses from informal supporters predict the like- 2014). Therefore, both HS and BS are predictive of negative lihood of victims seeking help from formal support systems and unsupportive attitudes toward IPV victims. (e.g., the police, legal advocates, etc.; Sylaska & Edwards, 2014). However, there are many instances in which informal supporters inadvertently blame the victim for the abuse she Gender and Negative Attitudes Toward endures (Trotter & Allen, 2009). This occurs when informal IPV Victims supporters tell the victim she is at fault for the abuse, mini- Gender is another predictive factor of negative attitudes mize the abuse, and excuse the actions of the perpetrator toward IPV victims (Alfredsson, Ask, & Borgstede, 2016). (Edwards, Dardis, & Gidycz, 2012). In some instances, fam- Although there are mixed results, previous research indicates ily members and other informal supporters give an ultima- that men are more likely to blame victims of dating violence, tum to the victim and will only offer help if they follow their rape, and IPV more than women (Nabors, Dietz, & Jasinski, demands for them to leave immediately, which victims 2006). Some researchers argue that this gender difference is report as very unhelpful (Moe, 2007). When a victim faces due to adherence to traditional gender roles, which men tend these types of negative responses and is blamed, this is to endorse more than women (Flood & Pease, 2006). While called secondary victimization (Ullman, 2010). After expe- the underlying reason requires further investigation, gender riencing secondary victimization, a victim is much less remains as a consistent predictive factor of negative attitudes likely to seek out further help and support, is much more toward IPV victims (Reidy, Shirk, Sloan, & Zeichner, 2009; likely to remain in an abusive relationship (Policastro & Yamawaki, Ostenson, & Brown, 2009). Payne, 2013) and face threats of violent reprisals from their abusers or death as a consequence (Kim & Gray, 2008). Therefore, supportive responses from informal supporters Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) are of the utmost importance as the strongest predictors of a and Negative Attitudes Toward IPV victim leaving her abusive relationship are support from Victims others and the knowledge of available resources (Chang et al., 2010). It is critical, then, to investigate and understand RWA is another factor that is related to negative attitudes which factors contribute to negative and unsupportive atti- toward female victims of violence (Gerger, Kley, Bohner, & tudes toward victims of IPV in the effort to reduce the inci- Siebler, 2007). RWA is a personality factor that includes dence of secondary victimization. three components as defined by Altemeyer (1996), including Riley and Yamawaki 3 submissiveness to authority figures, endorsing conventional including two conditions in a hypothetical scenario with a thought, and a tendency to aggress in ways that are accept- female victim of IPV: a leave condition and a stay condition. able to authority figures. Strict adherence to traditional views In the leave condition, the victim decides to leave her abuser such as gender roles and upholding conventional values are and in the stay condition, the female victim decides to stay related to negative attitudes toward and victim blaming of with her abuser. Our hypotheses included the following: IPV victims (Valor-Segura et al., 2011). RWA is predictive of punitive attitudes toward female victims of violence Hypotheses (Hockett, Saucier, Hoffman, Smith, & Craig, 2009) and is, therefore, worth considering as a predictive factor of victim Hypothesis 1: Participants who score higher on RWA will blaming and less supportive attitudes toward IPV victims. show less intention to support the victim and will blame the victim more; Hypothesis 2: Participants who score higher on BS will The Victim’s Decision and Negative show less intention to support the victim and will blame Attitudes Toward IPV Victims the victim more; Hypothesis 3: Participants who score higher on HS will Another factor that has not been explored much in previous show less intention to support the victim and will blame research, but that influences others’ perceptions of IPV victims, the victim more; is the victim’s decision to stay with or leave her abuser Hypothesis 4: Participants in the stay condition will show (Yamawaki et al., 2012). There are many obstacles and threats less intention to support the victim and will blame the vic- to safety that prevent victims from successfully leaving their tim more than participants in the leave condition; and abusers (Kim & Gray, 2008) and, consequently, about 50% of Hypothesis 5: Male participants will show less intention victims who attempt to leave their abusers eventually return to to support the victim and will blame the victim more than them (Roberts, Wolfer, & Mele, 2008). The majority of previ- female participants. ous research on outside observers’ attitudes toward IPV victims did not examine how the victim’s decision to stay or leave her abuser influences victim blaming and other attitudes toward the Methods victim. As Yamawaki et al. (2012) argued, examining how Participants observers judge a victim who decides to leave or stay with her abuser is an important factor to consider as this better reflects The participants in this study were undergraduate students the reality that many victims face. This is a newer consideration who were recruited from introductory psychology classes in in IPV violence research, and warrants more attention. a large, private university in the Western part of the United States. There were 184 total participants made up of 108 women and 76 men. The majority of the students in this The Current Study study identified as White/Caucasian (85%), while 5.3% As discussed previously, when an IPV victim faces blame identified as Hispanic/Latino, 1.6% identified as Asian, 4.8% and other negative types of reactions (i.e., secondary victim- identified as Mixed Race, and the remaining 2.7% identified ization) from her informal supporters (family, friends, etc.), as Other or did not specify their race/ethnicity. The average these deter victims from seeking aid from formal resources age of the participants was 20.59, with a range of 17 to 52 (e.g., shelters, police, etc.). Some consistent predictors of years, and 88.2% were single, 10.8% were married, and 1% negative attitudes toward IPV victims and victim blaming were divorced. The participants were informed that the pur- include hostile sexism (HS), benevolent sexism (BS), gen- pose of this study was to examine how individuals view the der, and the victim’s decision to stay or leave her abuser. interactions between intimate partners. Before conducting While much of the IPV literature has focused on what this study, the investigators sought Institutional Review accounts for secondary victimization, exploring and under- Board approval from their university and the experimenters standing what contributes to positive and supportive attitudes treated all participants in accordance with the ethical guide- toward victims is rarely investigated, and is of great impor- lines of the American Psychological Association (Keller & tance. Consequently, the current study sought to explore Lee, 2003). Confidentiality and anonymity were maintained which factors are predictive of positive and supportive atti- for all participants. Participants were compensated by receiv- tudes toward IPV victims who disclose. ing extra credit in their introductory psychology courses. In summary, the current study explored factors that predict an informal supporter’s intentions to help a female IPV victim Materials and Measures in a heterosexual relationship and factors related to victim blaming. Specifically, the effects of RWA, BS, and HS on Scenarios. A fictional scenario was developed and used in intentions to help an IPV victim were investigated. In addition, this study. The scenario describes a victim who discloses differences in victim blaming by gender and the victim’s deci- about her abuse to a friend. The following is the scenario that sion to leave or stay with her abuser were also examined by was presented to participants: 4 SAGE Open Imagine that you have a close friend named Lucy and you not care about the effect this is having on her family and have been friends for several years. One day, when you and friends (reverse scored)”; and (h) “I will tell Lucy that she Lucy are spending time together, she confides in you that her would experience PTSD and depression in the future if she husband, Jacob, lost control of his anger during a recent dis- does not leave Jacob (reverse scored).” This subscale is sup- agreement. Jacob became so angry that he beat Lucy. This is posed to evaluate the degree to which participants endorse not the first time that Lucy has confided in you about Jacob’s impositions of their judgment on the victim. The third factor anger and violent behavior; in fact, Lucy has discussed with included three items and was named the Traditional Value for you a similar situation several times in the past. Intimate Relationships subscale (accounting for 9.61% of the To manipulate the impact of the victim’s decision to stay variance), and the included items were (i) “If she doesn’t with or leave her abuser, participants who were assigned to want this to happen again, she shouldn’t make Jacob angry the stay scenario read the following instructions: “Imagine (reverse scored)”; (j) “If Lucy leaves Jacob, she will break that after she has told you everything about what happened the sacred marriage covenant (reverse scored)”; and (k) with Jacob that Lucy has now informed you that she has “This is a couple’s quarrel and no one else should be involved decided to remain with Jacob.” Likewise, participants who (reverse scored).” This subscale aims to evaluate the degree were assigned to the leave scenario read the following to which participants endorse adherence to traditional values instructions: “Imagine that after she has told you everything for a male–female intimate relationship. Finally, the fourth about what happened with Jacob that Lucy has now informed factor consisted of two items and was called the Insisting to you that she has decided to leave Jacob.” Work Out Relationship subscale (accounting for 6.84% of the variance), which contained (l) “I will insist that Lucy and Supportive Attitudes Toward Victim Scale (SAVS). The SAVS Jacob together should receive couple’s counseling (reverse was developed for the purpose of this study to assess the scored)”; and (m) “Lucy should stay with Jacob because degree to which an individual held supportive attitudes toward things will get better (reverse scored).” This subscale is sup- the hypothetical victim. We used Internet searches in popu- posed to assess the degree to which respondents endorse the lar media, examined scientific studies (Chabot et al., 2009; idea that the victim should stay with her abuser. The internal Kaukinen, Meyer, & Akers, 2013; Overstreet & Quinn, 2013; consistencies, a measured by Conbach’s alpha analysis, for Plichta, 2007; Postmus, Severson, Berry, & Yoo, 2009; Syl- the Insisting Victim to Leave subscale, Imposing Judgment aska & Edwards, 2014; West & Wandrei, 2002; Yam, 2000), subscale, Traditional Value for Intimate Relationships sub- and consulted with mental health professionals, and found 15 scale, and Work Out Relationship subscale of the current items that are inappropriate responses for support toward IPV study were .76, .75, .69, and .60, respectively. victims. Participants rated all 15 items on a 7-point Likert- type scale to convey the likelihood of stating such responses. Victim Blame Attribution (VBA) scale. Another dependent The items on the SAVS ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 measure in this study was the degree to which participants (strongly agree). Higher scores reflected a greater intention to placed blame on the IPV victim for being hit by her part- support the victim while lower scores conveyed less intended ner. This was measured by the VBA scale, which was devel- support for the victim. oped by Yamawaki et al. (2009). This measure was modified A principal component analysis with a varimax rotation for this study by changing the names to Lucy and Jacob was conducted on the 15 items with the present data and a for the victim and abuser, respectively. The VBA scale is a four-factor solution (based on eigenvalues >1) was yielded. 5-item scale designed to measure the degree to which par- Items were assigned to a factor if they loaded uniquely on ticipants blame a victim of IPV for the violence she endures. one factor at .50 or higher. The first factor involved five It includes the following items: (1) “Lucy had some fault items and was termed the Insisting Victim to Leave subscale in this incident,” (2) “Lucy deserved to be hit,” (3) “Lucy (accounting for 24.30% of the variance), and the items in this unconsciously wants to be in an abusive relationship,” (4) subscale were (a) “I will insist that Lucy leaves Jacob “Lucy has some responsibility for creating the situation,” (reverse scored)”; (b) “If Lucy stays with Jacob, I will and (5) “Lucy should be blamed for being in the situa- despise her decision (reverse scored)”; (c) “Lucy does not tion.” Participants rated these items on a Likert-type scale have any choice but to leave Jacob (reverse scored)”; (d) “I that ranged from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). will only provide support if Lucy leaves Jacob (reverse Higher scores on this measure indicated greater victim blam- scored)”; and (e) “I will tell Lucy to leave Jacob right away ing. The internal reliability for the VBA scale used in this (reverse scored).” This subscale is purported to assess the study was Cronbach’s α = .83. degree to which respondents endorse insistence of the victim leaving her abuser. The second factor included three items Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) scale. The RWA scale and was labeled as the Imposing Judgment subscale (account- was developed by Altemeyer (1981) to measure conservative ing for 19.46% of the variance). The items for this subscale ideology. RWA is defined as including three dimensions: were (f) “I will ask Lucy why she does not make changes in submissiveness to authority figures, endorsing conventional her life (reverse scored)”; (g) “I will ask Lucy why she does thought, and a tendency to aggress in ways that are Riley and Yamawaki 5 acceptable to authority figures (Altemeyer, 1996; Benjamin, In the second part of the study, all participants initially 2006). For the purposes of this study, the political orientation read an identical fictional scenario (see Methods section) of the RWA scale that is sometimes focused on was not of regardless of which condition they were randomly assigned interest, but rather, the negative attitudes toward members of to. The fictional scenario included all of the information groups whose behavior is unacceptable to authority figures regarding Lucy and Jacob’s IPV incident and Lucy’s disclo- was of interest. An abbreviated version of the RWA scale sure; however, at this point in the study, the scenario did not that consists of 22 items rated on a 7-point Likert-type scale include Lucy’s decision to stay with or to leave Jacob. After was (Altemeyer, 1996). The scale ranges from 1 (strongly reading the fictional scenario, all participants answered ques- disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). An example of the items on tions from the SAVS. Participants assigned to the condition this scale is, “Women should have to promise to obey their in which the victim decides to remain with her abuser were husbands when they get married.” Higher scores reflected a then informed of Lucy’s decision to remain with Jacob. greater endorsement of conservative ideology while lower Likewise, participants assigned to the condition where the scores conveyed less endorsement of conservative ideas. victim decides to leave her abuser were then informed of The reliability of the RWA scale used in this study was Lucy’s decision to leave Jacob. Participants then answered Cronbach’s α = .87. questions from the VBA scale. Ambivalent Sexism Inventory. Developed by Glick and Analytic Strategy Fiske (1996), the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI) is a 22-item measure with two subscales—benevolent sexism To test the hypotheses for the current study, statistical analy- (BS) and hostile sexism (HS). BS represents an endorsement ses were conducted using SPSS version 24. These included a of views of women in which women are “pure,” “submis- series of simultaneous multiple regression analyses to test sive,” and require “protection” provided by men. HS, how- for the predictive relationship between RWA, BS, and HS, ever, represents the other subtype of ambivalent sexism in gender, and the outcome variables: supportive attitudes which negative stereotypes of women who defy traditional toward the victim and VBA. In addition, a 2 (gender) × 2 gender-prescribed behavior are endorsed. These include (scenario) multiple analysis of variance (MANOVA) on ideas like “women are merely seductresses,” “women are SAVS and VBA was performed to test for main effects of trying to control men,” and “women do not deserve the same gender and scenario on supportive attitudes toward the vic- opportunities as men.” An example of items on the HS sub- tim and victim blame and for potential interaction effect scale is, “When women lose to men in fair competitions they between the independent variables and the outcome vari- typically complain about being discriminated against”; an ables. Table 1 provides descriptive statistics for and zero- example of items on the BS subscale is, “Women should be order correlations between the variables used in the study. cherished and protected by men.” Participants responded to the items by using a 7-point Likert-type scale. Higher scores Results represented greater endorsement of ambivalent sexism. The reported reliability for the BS and the HS subscales in this Predictive Roles of RWA, BS, and HS on Victim study were Cronbach’s α = .84 and α = .87, respectively. Blame and Intentions to Support the Victim To test the predictive roles of RWA, BS, HS, and gender on Procedure victim blaming and intentions to support the victim, a series of simultaneous multiple regression analyses were conducted. Participants were recruited in their psychology courses and completed this study through an online university system Multiple regression analysis for victim blame. The overall known as SONA. An equal number of participants were ran- regression model was significant F(4, 166) = 4.68, p < .05, domly assigned to each of the study’s conditions (i.e., vic- R = .10; indicating that the predictors taken together tim’s decision to leave or stay). The questionnaires and accounted for a significant amount of the variance in victim scenario were administered electronically via a Qualtrics blame despite only accounting for about 10% of the vari- web-based survey (Qualtrics.com), and only participants ance. When examined separately, however, gender was the who gave their consent were able to proceed in completing only significant predictor that accounted for unique variance the study. This study was divided into two parts. In the first of victim blame, ß = –.29, t(166) = −3.57, p < .001 (see part of the study, all participants completed the RWA scale, Table 2). the ASIy, and a demographic survey that gathered the partici- pants’ age, gender, marital status, and race and/or ethnicity. Multiple regression analyses for supportive attitudes toward the After completing the first part of the study, participants were victim (SAVS). The overall regression model was significant informed that they would receive an email link to complete a F(4, 163) = 420, p < .05, R = .09; indicating that the predic- second study after two days that would allow them to earn tors taken together accounted for a significant amount of the more credit if they chose to participate. 6 SAGE Open Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for and Zero-Order Correlations Between Variables Used in the Study. M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1. Victim Blame 14.32 5.98 — 2. Leave Abuser 18.78 5.46 −.14 — 3. Work Out Relationship 7.48 2.39 .28** −.41** — 4. Traditional Value 6.94 3.13 .42** −.17** .34** — 5. Imposed Judgment 10.52 4.17 .17* .22* .09 .19** — 6. Authoritarianism 87.38 16.59 .14 −.16* .26** .35** .19** — 7. Hostile Sexism 43.51 10.77 .17* .00 .05 .32** .25** .42** — 8. Benevolent Sexism 48.07 10.05 .13 −.27** .31** .20** −.02 .44** .10 — *p < .05. **p < .01. Table 2. Multiple Regression Analyses of Predictive Relationship Table 3. Multiple Regression Analyses of Predictive Relationship Between HS, BS, RWA, Gender, and Victim Blame. Between HS, BS, RWA, Gender, and SAVS. Unstandardized Standardized Unstandardized Standardized coefficient coefficient coefficient coefficient Predictors Β SE β t p Predictors Β SE β t p RWA .02 .03 .07 0.74 ns RWA .07 .04 .19 2.11 * HS .08 .05 .14 1.72 ns HS .13 .06 .19 2.24 * BS −.03 .05 −.04 −0.45 ns BS −.06 .07 −.08 −0.88 ns Gender −3.54 .99 −.29 −3.57 *** Gender −1.60 1.22 −.11 −1.31 ns Note. HS = hostile sexism; BS = benevolent sexism; RWA = right-wing Note. HS = hostile sexism; BS = benevolent sexism; RWA = right-wing authoritarianism. authoritarianism; SAVS = Supportive Attitudes Toward Victim Scale. ***p < .001. *p < .05. variance in SAVS despite only accounting for approximately RWA scores were inclined to insist that the victim work out 9% of the variance. When examined separately, both RWA (ß her relationship with her abuser by going through couple’s =.07 t[163] = −2.11, p < .05) and HS (ß = .13 t[163] = 2.24, counseling and/or that she stay because everything will be p < .05) were significant predictors that accounted for unique better. As for the Traditional Value for Intimate Relationships variance of SAVS. subscale, the results revealed that both RWA and BS were In addition to examining the predictive role of HS, BS, significant predictors, ß = .20, t(173) = 2.27, p < .05; ß = .23; and RWA on supportive attitudes toward the victim as a t(173) = 2.89, p < .01, respectively, and explained a signifi- whole, the relationship between these predictors and the sub- cant proportion of variance in this subscale’s scores, F(3, 2 2 scales of the SAVS scale were also examined. Gender was 173) = 8.47, p < .001, R = .13, R adj = .11. Namely, respon- not included in these analyses as it was only a significant dents with higher BS and RWA scores were prone to insist predictor of victim blame and not for SAVS previously. As that the wife should not make her husband angry, leaving her for the Insisting Victim to Leave subscale, the results of the husband means breaking the marriage covenant, and no one regression analysis indicated that BS was the only significant should be involved in a couple’s quarrel. On the Imposing predictor, ß = –.23, t(168) = −2.78, p < .01, and explained a Judgment subscale, the results exhibited that RWA and HS significant proportion of variance in the leaving subscale were significant predictors, ß = .25, t(173) = 2.89, p < .01; ß 2 2 scores, F(3, 171) = 4.39, p < .01, R = .07, R adj = .06. That = .19; t(173) = 2.41, p < .05, respectively, and explained a is, participants with higher BS scores tended to insist that the significant proportion of variance in this subscale’s scores, 2 2 victim needed to leave her abuser or they did not intend to F(3, 173) = 8.09, p < .001, R = .12, R adj = .11. Specifically, provide any support. On the Work Out Relationship sub- participants with high RWA and HS scores tended to impose scale, the results of the multiple regression analysis showed their judgment on the victim by asking why she was not will- that RWA and BS were significant predictors, ß = .21, t(170) ing to change her life, telling her to think about the potential = 2.43, p < .05; ß = .22; t(170) = 2.79, p < .01, respectively, of becoming mentally ill, and asking her to think about and explained a significant proportion of variance in the friends and family who will be affected by her abusive rela- leaving subscale scores, F(3, 170) = 8.21, p < .001, R = .13, tionship. See Table 3 for a summary of the multiple regres- R adj = .11. That means participants with higher BS and sion analyses for SAVS. Riley and Yamawaki 7 views on relationships, endorsement of traditional gender Effects of Scenario and Gender on Supportive roles, and punishment for those who break traditional gen- Attitudes Toward the Victim and VBA der roles (Durán et al., 2010), which is seen as breaking To test the effects of scenario and participants’ gender, a 2 away from an established authority (Benjamin, 2006). (stay or leave condition) × 2 (male and female) MANOVA Therefore, this finding makes sense given previous was performed on supportive attitudes toward the victim and findings. victim blaming. When both the dependent variables were In addition, both RWA and BS were significant predictors considered together, this analysis showed a significant differ- of the Insisting to Work Out Relationship subscale, which ence between men and women, Wilks’s Λ =.96, F (2, 169) = means that participants who scored higher on both the RWA 3.25, p < .05, and = .04, and by scenario (stay vs. leave), and BS measures were more likely to endorse responses Wilks’s Λ = .94, F (2, 169) = 5.13, p < .05, and = .06. p which encouraged the victim to work out her relationship There were main effects for scenario and gender on victim with her abuser without any outside help. These types of blame, with F (1, 170) = 9.65, p < .05, = .05 (Stay: M = p responses are common misconceptions of solutions to IPV 16.12, SD = .64; Leave: M = 13.33, SD = .63) for scenario, and are detrimental to the victim (Policastro & Payne, 2013). and F (1, 170) = 6.50, p < .05, = .04 (Males: M = 16.87, As mentioned previously, both BS and RWA are predictive of SD = .68; Females: M = 13.60, SD = .58) for gender. That is, endorsing traditional views of relationships, gender roles, the participants, who read the scenario in which the victim and punitive attitudes toward dissenting from traditional decided to stay and male participants tended to blame the gender roles (Benjamin, 2006; Durán et al., 2010). As such, victim more than participants who read the scenario where it is understandable that those who scored higher on BS and the victim decided to leave and who were female. The analy- RWA would be more likely to give suggestions to an IPV sis showed no significant main effect for either scenario or victim to “work out” her relationship and that no one else gender on supportive attitudes toward the victim, F(1, 170) = should be involved as these are commonly held traditional 2 2 .00, p = ns, η = .00, and F(1, 170) = .32, p = ns, = .00, p p beliefs (Capezza & Arriaga, 2008). respectively. There was no scenario × gender interaction For the Imposing Judgment subscale, both RWA and HS effect on victim blaming, F(1, 170) = .10, ns, = .00, or for p were significant predictors. Participants who scored higher supportive attitudes toward the victim, F(1, 170) = .07, p = on RWA and HS, then, were more likely to endorse sugges- ns, = .00, respectively. p tions that actually were judgmental in nature toward the vic- tim (e.g., “I will ask Lucy why doesn’t she make changes in her life”). As mentioned previously, HS entails adversarial Discussion views of women as seeking special favors and trying to con- The focus of the current study was to examine informal sup- trol men and represents a different pole of the ambivalent porters’ intentions to help an IPV victim who discloses. RWA sexism spectrum than BS (Glick & Fiske, 1996). The find- and the two valences of ambivalent sexism—BS and HS— ings in this study are consistent with previous research that were explored in relation to a measure created for the pur- show that BS and HS predict different forms of sexism and/ poses of this study, the SAVS. In addition, the effects of an or violence against women with HS predicting violent pro- IPV victim’s decision to remain with or leave her abuser and clivities against women and BS predicting greater victim the participant’s gender on victim blaming were explored in blame for female victims of violence (Durán et al., 2010). In the current study. the current study, BS was related to participants insisting that the victim leave her abuser which although is still unhelpful to IPV victims is a seemingly less harsh intention/statement RWA, BS, HS, and Intentions to Support the compared to the items on the Imposing Judgment subscale Victim that were endorsed by participants who scored higher on HS. RWA, BS, and HS related to the subscales of the SAVS in It is possible that those who scored higher on HS already different ways. Both RWA and BS were significant predic- have negative views toward women, and since the victim tors of the Traditional Value for Intimate Relationships was female, this may have related to the endorsement of subscale. Participants who scored higher on RWA and BS judgmental responses toward the victim. The relationship were more likely to endorse the items on the Traditional between RWA and more judgmental responses may be reflec- Value for Intimate Relationships subscale, which included tive of an authoritarian quality wherein the observer higher items that reflect traditional values for male–female inti- in RWA believes himself or herself to be best suited to decide mate relationships. Such endorsement of traditional values what to do for the victim; which, results in more judgmental (e.g., leaving the abuser is “breaking the sacred marriage responses and suggestions. covenant”) would act as a deterrent to IPV victims from The final subscale that was developed from the original seeking to escape from their abusive relationships since SAVS was the Insisting to Leave subscale, which was related this implies that leaving such a relationship is unsacred or to BS. Participants who scored higher on BS were more wrong. Both RWA and BS are related to more traditional likely to endorse the responses from the Insisting to Leave 8 SAGE Open subscale. As discussed previously, BS is related to views of Gender and Victim Blaming gender and gender roles that are more traditional (Glick & In addition to exploring how the victim’s decision to stay Fiske, 1996). With a more traditional understanding of gen- with or leave her abuser affected victim blaming, gender dif- der and gender roles, women are often seen as “pure” until ferences in victim blaming were also explored. In line with they break or betray their prescribed role in some way. When the study’s prediction and previous research (Flood & Pease, this occurs, women receive harsh criticism and judgment 2009), male participants significantly blamed the victim because they have violated their own “purity” (Capezza & more than female participants. Females may blame IPV vic- Arriaga, 2008). Indeed, previous research shows that BS is a tims less because females can better empathize with the consistent predictor of victim blaming and negative attitudes female victim in the situation and, therefore, place less blame toward IPV victims (Durán et al., 2010). It is possible that compared to males (Beeble, Post, Bybee, & Sullivan, 2008). those who endorse BS more may explain the cause of the This difference, while replicated in other studies, is not abuse for IPV victims as stemming from a flaw in or wrong- always consistent (Valor-Segura et al., 2011). Some research- doing of the victim, rather than focusing on the abuser. As a ers postulate that the inconsistent findings may be because result, it is necessary to insist for the victim to leave since it the gender difference is reflective of the endorsement of tra- is her “fault.” ditional gender roles (Flood & Pease, 2009), with men more often endorsing more traditional gender roles than women The Victim’s Decision and Victim Blaming (Alfredsson et al., 2016) rather than gender alone. In the cur- rent study, a significant gender difference was found in vic- Another area of focus in the current study was the effect of tim blaming. This difference could be attributable to the the victim’s decision to stay with her partner on VBA. As participants’ gender alone or to higher endorsement of tradi- hypothesized and consistent with previous research tional gender roles among male participants. Future studies (Policastro & Payne, 2013), the victim’s decision to stay should explore this in more depth to better determine the rea- with her partner was a significant predictor of increased sons for this effect of gender differences on victim blaming. victim blame. Participants assigned to the condition in which the victim decided to remain with her abuser blamed the victim significantly more than participants in the condi- Limitations tion in which the victim decided to leave her abuser. When a victim remains with her abuser, outside observers assume The current study has several limitations. One limitation is that she accepts the abuse she is enduring and, therefore, is the use of a convenience sample of college students in the more deserving of blame than a victim who decides to leave current project and the real-world generalizability of the cur- her abuser (Kim & Gray, 2008). Examining the victim’s rent findings. However, according to Miller’s (2011) review intentions to leave or remain with her abuser is an impor- of recent surveys of U.S. college students, 13% to 42% of tant area of focus as the majority of IPV victims face students in these samples indicated perpetrating physical numerous obstacles that constrain them from being able to violence against and/or being victimized by a partner in a leave successfully (Panchanadeswaran & McCloskey, dating relationship. The findings from this study are, there- 2007). Some of the common barriers include financial fore, important for this population. However, future studies dependence, the presence of children, and lack of access to should focus on responses from informal supporters in or knowledge about appropriate resources (Kim & Gray, applied or real-world settings (e.g., neighbors, family mem- 2008; Overstreet & Quinn, 2013). In addition to these bers, members of religious communities, etc.) as informal obstacles, female IPV victims risk losing their lives, with supporters’ responses are critical in IPV victims seeking and 70% of all femicides globally committed by a male intimate receiving proper aid (Chang et al., 2010). partner (Zeoli & Webster, 2010). As a result, it is extremely The SAVS has potential weaknesses and findings related to arduous and dangerous for victims to leave their abusers. it should be taken with caution. The measure may be more of a Despite this, outside observers who are uninformed about reflection of what observers think is appropriate to do to help IPV often misjudge the reasons why the victim remains rather than capturing their intention to help and support the vic- with her abuser (Sprague et al., 2013). Consequently, vic- tim. In addition, the reliabilities for each of the subscales were tims who remain with their abusers may face greater sec- within the range of acceptable reliability in the social sciences ondary victimization from their informal supporters (α = .60–.80; Cooksey, 2014). Consequently, the findings in (Yamawaki et al., 2012). This in turn would deter victims this study related to the SAVS measure should be interpreted from receiving proper aid that is necessary for them to cautiously. It is recommended that a different scale be devel- escape their abusive relationships (Ullman, 2010). oped with greater reliability for future research involving out- Therefore, understanding how the victim’s decision to stay side observers’ intentions to help and support the victim. or leave plays a role in outside observers’ perceptions of Finally, the current study also focused only on a married IPV victims is crucial as it contributes to the likelihood of female victim in a heterosexual relationship. Future research victims seeking out and gaining access to vital resources. should investigate how the findings from this study compare Riley and Yamawaki 9 for different types of relationships, like homosexual couples, ORCID iD as IPV occurs in same-sex couples as well (Ard & Makadon, Christina E. Riley https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3848-6531 2011). Including same-sex and other types of couples from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans (LGBT) community References would provide insights into how potential intersections of homophobia and prejudice toward IPV victims relate since Alfredsson, H., Ask, K., & Borgstede, C. (2016). Beliefs about inti- mate partner violence: A survey of the Swedish general public. prejudice persists against these community members today Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57, 57-64. (Hooghe, Claes, Harell, Quintelier, & Dejaeghere, 2010). Alhabib, S., Nur, U., & Jones, R. (2010). 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Injury Prevention, Spanish Journal of Psychology, 14, 195-206. 16, 90-95. West, A., & Wandrei, M. L. (2002). Intimate partner vio- lence: A model for predicting interventions by informal Author Biographies helpers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, 972-986. doi:10.1177/0886260502017009004 Christina E. Riley recently graduated with her degree in psychol- World Health Organization. (2012). Understanding and ogy from Brigham Young University (April, 2018). She was addressing violence against women. Geneva, Switzerland: awarded a Fulbright-Nehru research fellowship and is currently a Author. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bit- Fulbright-Nehru research scholar in India. Her research interests stream/10665/77432/1/WHO_RHR_12.36_eng.pdf include cross-culturally examining effective ways of preventing Yam, M. (2000). Seen but not heard: Battered women’s perceptions intimate partner violence. of the ED experience. Journal of Emergency Nursing, 26, 464- Niwako Yamawaki is an associate professor and the associate 470. doi:10.1067/men.2000.110432 chair of the Psychology department at Brigham Young University. Yamawaki, N., Ochoa-Shipp, M., Pulsipher, C., Harlos, A., & Her research interests are cross-cultural and include others’ percep- Swindler, S. (2012). Perceptions of domestic violence: The tions of and negative stigma towards sexual assault, rape and inti- effects of domestic violence myths, victim’s relationship with mate partner violence victims. She also researchers how negative her abuser, and the decision to return to her abuser. Journal of stigma affects mental health literacy. Interpersonal Violence, 27, 3195-3212.

Journal

SAGE OpenSAGE

Published: Jun 18, 2018

Keywords: intimate partner violence (IPV); intentions to help; informal supporters; ambivalent sexism; right-wing authoritarianism

References