Bystanders are more likely to respond to clearly dangerous situations. Based on the concept of altruism born of suffering, those who have experienced victimization also respond and view situations differently. The first hypothesis was that bystanders would have an increased intent to intervene in a physical assault over a sexual assault. The second hypothesis was that bystanders with past victimization would report higher intent to intervene regardless the type of assault. Undergraduate women of a northeastern U.S. college (N=240) were assigned to read either a sexual assault or physical assault hypothetical situation and then self-reported their responses to the situation and past experiences of victimization. Results showed support for both hypotheses about intent to intervene. Overall, women were more likely to intervene in response to physical assault over a sexual assault. However, for women of past victimization, intent to intervene was higher in the sexual assault condition. Findings also supported the concept that bystanders view physical violence as more dangerous than sexual assault, and they provided evidence for altruism born of suffering.
Edgington, Claire; Ramos-Dries, Tess; and Katz, Jennifer
"Bystander Responses to Sexual or Physical Assault: Moderating Effects of Personal Victimization History,"
Proceedings of GREAT Day: Vol. 2018, Article 29.
Available at: https://knightscholar.geneseo.edu/proceedings-of-great-day/vol2018/iss1/29