How political biases influence sexual assault survivors’ beliefs
New research from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University reveals a relationship between political biases and attitudes toward sexual assault.
Written by Assistant Professor Rebecca Ortiz and PhD student Andrea Smith, the article “A social identity threatens perspective on why supporters may engage in greater victimization and acceptance of the sexual assault myth in the #MeToo era”, has been published in the peer-reviewed journal. Violence against women.
Ortiz and Smith found that the stronger the partisan identity of Republicans and Democrats, the more likely they were to engage in victim-blame attitudes, which was then linked to a lower likelihood of perceiving the #MeToo movement. as having a positive impact in the United States. , perhaps as a way to defend their political identity at a time when many political leaders have been accused of sexual assault.
In this cross-sectional study, researchers sent a poll to Democrats, Republicans and Independents and asked them a series of questions related to their degree of identification with their political party affiliation.
The next set of questions asked about their attitudes towards sexual assault and violence against women. These questions explored their likelihood of agreeing with myths about sexual assault, such as believing that female victims are at least somewhat responsible. The researchers then divided the responses by political identity and gender.
“What we found was that the more Republicans and Democrats identified with their party, the more likely they were to agree, or at least not strongly disagree, with these assault myths. sexuality and the less likely they were to perceive the #MeToo movement as having a positive impact, “Ortiz said.” As expected, these mythical attitudes of sexual assault were significantly higher among Republicans than among Democrats and among men than in women. We also found that our participants aligned more closely by party than by gender, so that Republican women aligned more closely with Republican men and Democratic men with Democratic Women. “
However, while the Democratic Party has championed the #MeToo movement and women’s rights, the researchers’ findings indicate that even strongly partisan Democrats may still be willing, at least somewhat, to question the history of a woman. victim or believe in the myths of sexual assault, perhaps especially when a Democratic politician is accused of harassment or assault.
This story played out on both sides of the political spectrum. In 2016, former President Donald Trump was accused by several women of sexual misconduct and harassment. During the campaign, an infamous gang resurfaced of Trump making lewd remarks about women and bragging about sexually harassing women. He still won the election and enjoyed popular support from Republicans. Likewise, while many Democrats called out former President Trump for the numerous allegations of sexual assault against him, some Democrats were much less willing to criticize President Biden when a similar charge was brought by a former member. staff in the 2020 elections.
“It appears that both Democrats and Republicans have the potential to blame victims and accept these harmful cultural myths about survivors of sexual assault as a way to preserve and defend their political identity, perhaps especially when members powerful and leaders of their political group are accused of these crimes, ”said Ortiz.
Ortiz currently has another manuscript under peer review where she experimentally tested how partisanship can make Democrats and Republicans view sexual assault allegations and the news sources reporting these allegations in a politically biased manner. .
Ortiz conducts research at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University with a focus on health communication, social marketing, entertainment, and the effects of news media. She has managed and consulted several health communication campaigns and research projects focused primarily on sexual health issues, such as prevention of sexual violence.
The link to the summary is here: https: /
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