Juror perceptions in a rape trial :examining the complainant's ingestion of chemical substances prior to sexual assault
Stewart, Destin Nicole
Despite the high incidence of rape in the United States, there are comparatively low rates of reports, arrests, and convictions. More research is needed to examine the factors that influence trial decisions for rape cases. This study examined the impact of a rape complainant?s willingness to ingest a chemical substance (willing or unwilling) and the type of ingested substance (alcohol, GHB, or marijuana) on the decisions of 229 mock jurors. Overall, jurors were biased by the complainant?s use of substances, the complainant?s choice about using, and by rape myths. The complainant?s use of alcohol, regardless of the willingness to use, led to the highest guilt ratings for the defendant. Complainants who willingly ingested a substance were viewed as less credible and more to blame for the rape, compared to those who unwillingly used a substance. The complainant was perceived as the most credible when she unwillingly ingested GHB or marijuana.