To confront versus not to confront: Women's perception of sexual harassment

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Current research has postulated that sexual harassment is one of the most serious social problems. Perceptions of sexual harassment vary according to some factors: gender, context, and perceiver's ideology. The strategies most commonly used by women to cope with harassment range from avoiding or ignoring the harasser to confronting the harasser or reporting the incident. The aim of this study was to explore women's perception of sexual harassment, and to assess the implications of different victim responses to harassment. A total of 138 women were administered a questionnaire where the type of harassment, and victim response were manipulated. Moreover, the influence of ideological variables (i.e. ambivalent sexism and the acceptance of myths of sexual harassment) on perception was assessed. Results show perception of sexual harassment was lower in gender harassment than in unwanted sexual attention and participants believed women who confronted their harasser would be evaluated negatively by men. Furthermore, effects of ideology on perception of harassment were found. The results underscore the complexities involved in defining certain behaviours as harassment, and the implications of different victim responses to harassment. 2017 Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid.




Herrera, M. del C., Herrera, A., & Expósito, F. (2018). To confront versus not to confront: Women’s perception of sexual harassment. European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context, 10(1), 1–7.

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