This study was designed to investigate sexual harassment perceptions based on continuation of unwanted sexual attention following victim resistance. Participants were 504 undergraduates who responded to statements regarding a sexual harassment scenario, in which the perpetrator continued or discontinued attention, which varied in severity according to nonphysical, physical, or restraint contact. Results showed that continued attention and any type of physical contact strengthened harassment perceptions, although men’s perceptions were weaker unless restraint was present. No sex differences were observed in the restraint condition. Women had stronger perceptions than men did in the physical condition, but showed a non-significant trend toward stronger perceptions in the nonphysical condition. Findings suggest that continuation following resistance may clarify for observers that harassment is occurring. Conceptualizations of harassment severity are suggested.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 29, 2006
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