On July 26, 2012, the following question was posted on Reddit: “Reddit’s had a few threads about sexual assault victims, but are there any redditors from the other side of the story? What were your motivations? Do you regret it?” Within days, there were numerous responses including anonymous posts from self-reported perpetrators of sexual assaults. After different news outlets picked up the story, there was a deluge of traffic to the thread ranging from brief responses only a few words long to some that were more that 2,000 words in length.
Realizing that this thread posed a unique opportunity to explore many of the reasons perpetrators use to justify sexual assault, a team of researchers at Georgia State University downloaded the entire thread and conducted a thematic study of the collected responses. Of the more than 12,000 responses collected, lead researcher Tracy N. Hipp and her colleagues selected 68 first-person accounts by sexual perpetrators to examine further. The responses were individually read by a team of trained and supervised undergraduate research assistants who followed a formal coding process to classify the different justifications given.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.