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Understanding Status Defense Myths - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128159125

Understanding Status Defense Myths

1st Edition

When Power and Privilege Go Unpunished

Author: Kristine Chapleau
Paperback ISBN: 9780128159125
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st September 2021
Page Count: 225
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Understanding Status Defense Myths: When Power and Privilege Go Unpunished investigates the role of status in the decision to punish or permit violence in society. Whether sexual, racial, political or financial, powerful factors work to maintain the status quo, heaping retribution on low-status perpetrators and delivering leniency to those with high-status. The model of status defense myths identifies four factors that are used to justify violence or absolve perpetrators of blame: evidence, deviance, danger and social worth. Status defense myths have been studied most often in the context of men’s sexual violence toward women, particularly “victim blaming", hence this is a timely resource.

Whether on an elementary school playground, courtroom, or boardroom, status defense myths are used to privilege the rights of some at the expense of others. Understanding how this rhetoric exists and how it works is essential to understanding and combatting injustice.

Key Features

  • Examines victim blaming in the context of privileging the perpetrator
  • Discusses how we permit and encourage violence and wrongdoing to maintain the status quo
  • Includes real-world examples of status defense myths from news articles and books
  • Provides applied case studies
  • Spans many different arenas: sexism and rape myths, racism, corporations, sports and politics


Students and researchers in social psychology, sociology, public affairs, ethics, and pre-law. Also of interest to those in developmental and cognitive psychology

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    2. Human Sacrifice and the Status Quo
    3. "Victimhood is a Coveted Status" (George Will)
    4. Whistleblowers and Whistlestowers
    5. More than Victim Blaming
    6. Black Lives Matter
    7. The Auto Industry's Takeover of Public Space
    8. Climate Change Denial
    9. Turning the Mirror


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2023
1st September 2021
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Kristine Chapleau

Kristine Chapleau is a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Indiana University School of Medicine, and adjunct professor at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis. From 2001-2003, she has studied the effects of stereotypes and prejudice toward African Americans; specifically, how Afrocentric features of White and African American men influence criminal sentencing. Since 2004, she then studied sexual aggression and rape denial/justification. Her publications were the first to examine how rape denial/justification are associated with positive stereotypes about men, as well as depends on the perpetrator and victim’s relative status, and the threat of punishment. In her clinical practice she treats victims of abuse who are further victimized by these status defense myths.

Affiliations and Expertise

Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine IU Health Neuroscience Center, Indianapolis, IN, USA

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