Whom Do You Believe? Assessing Credibility of the Accuser and Accused in Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is one of the most prominent issues of our time. Although social scientists have investigated some aspects of sexual assault—e.g., the problem of sexual assault on college campuses—little research has assessed public attitudes toward sexual assault, including whether the public tends to side with the accuser (usually, although not always, a woman) or the accused (usually, although not always, a man). In this talk, I present results from an original nationally representative survey experiment (N = 2,005) designed to examine public attitudes toward the accuser and accused in cases of sexual assault. We consider which party is considered more credible, as well as the specific circumstances surrounding the case that shape perceptions of credibility. Results will be discussed, along with a consideration of theoretical implications for the study of gender attitudes in social science research.
Natasha Quadlin is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Ohio State University. Dr. Quadlin received her PhD from Indiana University in 2017. Her work focuses on social inequality in the contemporary United States. One line of research examines public attitudes toward sex and gender, and the implications of these attitudes for gender inequality. Another line of research focuses on access and returns to education. Dr. Quadlin uses a range of quantitative methods and data in her research, and she is especially interested in using large-scale survey and field experiments to understand the mechanisms that underlie inequality. Her recent work has appeared in the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Gender & Society, Journal of Marriage and Family, and other outlets.