This article examines the influence of the sexualization of victims’ appearance on bystanders’ helping intentions when witnessing an online harassment episode, considering the mediation of victim blaming. Two hundred and ninety participants read a fictitious Facebook post of the victim describing the online harassment episode. According to the experimental condition, the scenario was accompanied by a picture of the female (vs. male) victim with a sexualized (vs. non-sexualized) appearance. Then, participants rated the seriousness of the episode, the extent to which they blamed the victim for the online harassment, and expressed their willingness to help the victim. Results showed that sexualized victims, regardless of their gender, were blamed more for their victimization, and this evaluation, in turn, lowered participants’ willingness to help the victims. In conclusion, linking the literature on the antecedents and the consequences of victim blaming, we extended the knowledge providing evidence that the biased perception of victims’ physical appearance produces concrete consequences for mistreated individuals. Practical implications are discussed.

Victim blaming 2.0: blaming sexualized victims of online harassment lowers bystanders’ helping intentions

Spaccatini F.
;
Pacilli M. G.;Giovannelli I.
2022

Abstract

This article examines the influence of the sexualization of victims’ appearance on bystanders’ helping intentions when witnessing an online harassment episode, considering the mediation of victim blaming. Two hundred and ninety participants read a fictitious Facebook post of the victim describing the online harassment episode. According to the experimental condition, the scenario was accompanied by a picture of the female (vs. male) victim with a sexualized (vs. non-sexualized) appearance. Then, participants rated the seriousness of the episode, the extent to which they blamed the victim for the online harassment, and expressed their willingness to help the victim. Results showed that sexualized victims, regardless of their gender, were blamed more for their victimization, and this evaluation, in turn, lowered participants’ willingness to help the victims. In conclusion, linking the literature on the antecedents and the consequences of victim blaming, we extended the knowledge providing evidence that the biased perception of victims’ physical appearance produces concrete consequences for mistreated individuals. Practical implications are discussed.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1534621
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