Using an experimental narrative approach, this study examines the effect of victim-offender gender on reactions to homicide offenders in domestic and bar situations. Quantitative findings suggest that respondents viewed a woman who killed a man in a bar as less guilty than offenders in some other gender-combination conditions. However, there was no statistically significant difference in the guilt assessment assigned to a woman who killed a man or to a man who killed a woman in a bar. Yet, in open-ended comments, respondents consistently described the men, whether defendants or victims, involved in fights with women in the bar in a highly negative manner. The other experiment revealed no significant differences in reactions to women and men who killed spouses at home. Our findings offer some support for both equality and leniency perspectives depending on the exact nature and gender combination of the homicide situation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Psychology (miscellaneous)