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Authors

Avigail Moor

Abstract

Victims of sexual violence are often blamed for precipitating their own assault with their so-called “provocative” body-revealing style of dress, which is viewed as conveying consent for sexual advances. To explore some of the grounds for this allegation as well as its accurateness, the present study examines the attributions made by both sexes regarding the motivation for women’s sexualized appearance. The factual connection between revealing clothing and actual occurrences of sexual invasions is examined as well. The results demonstrate a gender-based attribution gap wherein men report perceiving the sexualized look as indicating an interest in sex and intent to seduce, whereas women cite their wish to feel and look attractive as its primary cause, while entirely rejecting the seduction claim. This gap is examined in the context of the current widespread sexual objectification of women and the social construction of female beauty in sexual terms, as well as the finding that in reality there is no connection between style of dress and sexual victimization of any sort.

Note on the Author

Avigail Moor, Clinical psychologist and head of the Women Studies program at Tel Hai College in Israel. She is also on the faculty of the Social Work Department. In addition she serves as a psychological consultant to several rape crisis centers in Northern Israel. Her clinical work focuses on the treatment of women in general and survivors of sexual violence in particular. Her past and present research centers primarily on the social context of sexual violence against women and its psychological sequelae. She has also written articles on treatment for abuse survivors. Other research interests concern the psychology of women and the effect of gender-based power imbalances on women’s mental health.

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