Chapter ?.doc

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PSYCH 3860
Denis Mc Carthy

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Chapter 13: Psychology of Victims • Perceptions of Victims ◦ Blaming the victim ▪ Areaction often held by bystanders, and sometimes by the victims themselves ▪ fundamental attribution error ▪ belief in a just world causes you to blame victim ◦ Abuse excuse ▪ Sometimes used as a criminal defense or mitigating circumstance (e.g. the Menendez brothers, spousal murders in abusive relationships) • Effects on Child Victims ◦ Widom et al study ▪ 908 children who had suffered abuse/neglect ▪ 667 matched controls ▪ Higher rates of offenses and arrests over 15-20 years (abused group) ▪ Another follow up found ½ of the abused group had been arrested by early 30s (vs 38%) ◦ Rind et al study 1998 ▪ Ameta-analysis of childhood sexual abuse and its effects ▪ Concluded- “CSAdoes not cause intense harm on a pervasive basis regardless of gender.” ▪ “consensual v non-consensual” ▪ Tremendous controversy over conclusions- Congress voted to condemn the study • Victims of violence and PTSD ◦ PTSD ▪ Re-experience (thoughts, flashbacks, dream) ▪ Avoiding stimuli associated with event or general detachment ▪ Increased psych arousals- exaggerated startle ▪ .5% males and 1.2% females have PTSD ▪ Mostly victims of assault or watched others victimized ▪ Other estimates much higher: 12% have symptoms, 4.6% diagnosable (Resnick et al 1993) ▪ Factors that affects who gets PTSD • Threat to life • Lack of control • Cognitive processing during trauma • Social support • Battered Spouse ◦ Prevalence ▪ 33% of men and 25% of women are victims ▪ Men at bars, women at home ▪ Differences in injury rate ▪ 30% of women murdered by partners (3.7 odds ratio) ◦ Myths ▪ Most of the myths listed in the book are not truly held, but influence thinking ▪ 25% think some women want to be abused ▪ Most think women could end abusive relationship ◦ Predictors ▪ Batterers are more likely to be: low SES, unemployed, less educated, higher in minority males ▪ Also low problem solvers, limited verbal skills ▪ 3 types: general (violence), psychopathological (maybe something mental), family-only (only violent in home) ◦ Cycle of Violence ▪ Like the stages of grief, doesn't fit everyone ▪ Tension building ▪ Acute incident ▪ Contrite: the “submissive” nature of apology can increase cycle (build resentment) ▪ Some argue that this is describing male borderline personality disorder ◦ Battered Spouse as Defense ▪ Battered woman syndrome • Learned helplessness • Diminished social support • Heightened sensitivity to danger signs- likely to interpret very subtle signs as threat to her life ▪ Often used as a defense when battered spouse kills when not threatened (otherwise it is simple self defense) ▪ Despite common belief, defense is not predicated on “justice” or “he deserved it” ▪ Mock studies show jury more sympathetic when expert explains syndrome ▪ Not clear if admissible as expert testimony • Why? • Rape myths, stereotypes, and data ◦ Myths ▪ Women cannot be raped against their will ▪ Women secretly wish to be raped ▪ Most accusations are fake ◦ Attitudes about rape ▪ Views on rape are complex, but review highlighted factors related to accepting myths about rape • Traditional beliefs about gender roles • Adversarial sexual beliefs • Perpetrator Characteristics ◦ Different types of rapists ▪ How much aggression? ▪ Does high aggression correlate with high sexual arousal? ▪ Rapist psychopathological? An
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