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Current research has postulated that sexual harassment is one of the most serious social problems. 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. A total of women were administered a questionnaire the type of harassment, and victim response were manipulated. Moreover, the influence of ideological variables i.
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 underscore the complexities involved in defining certain behaviours as harassment, and the implications of different victim responses to harassment. Gender harassment hostile, offensive, intimidating, and degrading verbal and nonverbal behaviour against women is a type of subtle sexual harassment aimed at deterring women from transgressing male domains rather than being an expression of sexual attraction. As for unwanted sexual attention verbal and non verbal behaviour, such as persistent nonreciprocal requests for dates, letters, phone calls, deliberate touching, grabbing, sexual advances and propositions, and assaultit is among the most evident types of this behaviour; this behaviour is perceived by the target as unwelcome, unreciprocated, and offensive acts of sexual interest.
Sexual coercion also known as quid pro quo or sexual blackmail is the most explicit and recognizable type of sexual harassment, where the harasser, a person in power, demands sexual favours from a subordinate worker in exchange for organizational rewards and benefits or threats of reprisal related to job prospects and conditions e. This study was undertaken in Spain, a country where there is no official register for the prevalence of sexual harassment at work Amnesty International, Nevertheless, the most recent figures revealed a total of 6, sexual offences against women inof which were cases of sexual harassment Instituto de la Mujer, Thus, one out of every two to three women have experienced some type of sexual harassment or have been subjected to unwanted sexual behaviour European Commission, ; Pina et al.
The magnitude of the social problem underscores the need for research focusing on this type of gender violence. However, the data on incidence rates may fail to provide an accurate description of reality, given the lack of consensus and the confusion of terminology, which only serve to further confound the definition of harassment. Unfortunately, none of these strategies has proven to be clearly effective in combating harassment at work, nor in raising the confidence of workers i.
A further strategy employed by women in coping with sexual harassment is confronting the harasser. Though there may be potential benefits in confronting the harasser, few women appear to opt for this strategy. These reactions may involve threats of reprisal related to job prospects and conditions e.
The tendency to respond negatively to any woman who attempt to draw limits as to the behaviours of men, particularly if these infringe traditional gender roles, is enshrined and perpetuated by the sexist ideology. Thus, the sexist ideology is a variable influencing challenges to the established order between men and women, and what is considered to be acceptable and normal in traditional relationships.
Women themselves normally acquiesce to ambivalent sexist beliefs, particularly of the benevolent type, as it enables them to perceive of themselves in a positive light, and it is a subtler and in turn more accepted type of sexism than hostile sexism. In general, sexism is associated to attitudes legitimizing violence against women, and would explain the nexus between hostile sexism and blaming the victim Herrera et al. Myths of sexual harassment, including beliefs such as self-victimization, that women enjoy acts of violence, these acts are only committed by mentally deranged men, or that women exaggerate their reports are common to all women.
Sexist myths were shared by both men and women and, on the whole, the more both of them adhere to traditional gender roles, the greater the likelihood certain behaviours of sexual harassment were considered to be acceptable or normal. Furthermore, the more an individual considered sexist behaviour was normal, the greater the likelihood they would deny the negative consequence of their own actions or behaviour Quinn, Thus, the aim of this study was to assess the influence of the type of sexual harassment gender harassment vs.
Moreover, the efficacy of confrontation as a victim coping strategy for combating sexual harassment was analysed. Furthermore, the influence of certain ideological variables, such as ambivalent sexism and the acceptance of myths of sexual harassment, on social perceptions of harassment and the evaluation of women was evaluated. Gender harassment would be perceived less as sexual harassment in comparison to unwanted sexual attention. The sample was obtained through incidental sampling in different classrooms of several faculties at the University of Granada, Spain.
Having obtained informed consent, participants were randomly ased to one of the experimental conditions, and were given approximately 20 minutes to complete a questionnaire in their habitual classrooms. All participants were assured their information and responses would remain anonymous and confidential. Once all students had completed the questionnaire, they were informed about the objectives of the study.
All of the participants freely volunteered to respond to the questionnaire, and were awarded an extra 0. A 2 type of harassment: gender harassment vs. A questionnaire was deed containing all the variables to be measured. The first step was to present a scenario, and participants were instructed to adopt the role of the protagonist of the following story Ann :.
During the conversation…. The type of sexual harassment was manipulated by providing participants the following information. John tells Ann while he puts his hand on her thigh: I know of a way we can forget about these problems, and get rid of this stress…. The type of victim response was manipulated by providing participants the following information.
In this study, only the instrumental scale was used given that the objective was to obtain masculine perception. Examples of instrumental items were: ambitious, independent, self-confident, individualist, leadership qualities, strong. Participants were told to imagine they were Ann, and were instructed to indicate the degree to which they thought each item was applicable by John to the protagonist of the story herself using a 7-point Likert type response format ranging from 1 not at all to 7 very much.
The coefficient for participants on the instrumentality subscale was. High scores were indicative of greater acceptance of myths of sexual harassment. The alpha coefficient for the total scale was. In this study, only global scores were analysed as the primary objective was to obtain an overview of myths rather than a detailed analysis of each specific dimension.
High scores revealed more sexist attitudes. Half of the items were related to hostile sexism HS women get easily offended, women always exaggerate the problems they have at work…and the other half were related to benevolent sexism BS women are bestowed with a purity that few men possess…. The Cronbach alpha coefficient for hostile subscale was. All the experimental manipulations were effective.
The same procedure was applied for each analysis. In Step 1, the type of sexual harassment: gender harassment value 0 vs. Step 2 involved second order interactions between the experimental manipulations and the ideological measures.
The obtained for the first three dependent variables are shown in Table 1and the for the remaining three dependent variables are shown in Table 2. Most participants believed women who confronted harassment vs. Table 3 Mean Scores and Standard Deviations. Correlation between Variables. The of this study agree with the findings of these authors in that, in general, perception of sexual harassment was lower in gender harassment than in unwanted sexual attention.
The fact that gender harassment was not perceived as such, or even trivialised, in comparison to other more explicit and direct forms unwanted sexual attentionmay lead to this type of behaviour becoming normalised in relationships between men and women, the implications of which transcend both occupational and social settings. Thus, victims exposed to sexual harassment at work who do not dispose of strategies for detecting and coping with harassment feel vulnerable and inept. This instils a sense of helplessness in potential victims that is conveyed in the responses of participants in relation to both types of harassment.
This highlights the influence of myths in the perception and evaluation of events Lonsway et al. In relation to victim response, the show that participants believed women who confronted their harasser would be evaluated negatively by men and would be attributed more instrumental traits than women who did not confront the harasser, regardless of the type of sexual harassment.
As for the evolution of feminine stereotyping, most democratic nations have progressively evolved into perceiving women as competent - at first sight this would appear to be a positive step towards gender equality. Most of the participants in this study believed that women who confronted their harasser would be perceived by men as impertinent in comparison to women who did not. studies have reported similar confirming the influence of traditional gender attitudes on the evaluation of victims of violence against women Herrera et al.
Moreover, participants indicated they would overlook and take no notice of an incident of harassment, probably because they considered the confrontation response was sufficiently explicit and clear and they had done what was necessary to deter the harasser, particularly in response to more subtle forms of gender harassment.
Furthermore, effects of sexist ideology on perception of harassment were found. Women scoring high on acceptance of myths of sexual harassment gave less importance to incidents of harassment. Several studies have observed how myths of violence against women, e. These myths include beliefs and behaviours that blame the victim, minimize the psychological impact on victims, and justify the behaviour of the harasser Lonsway et al. Finally, studies on perceptions of harassment and victim response contribute in providing data for the de and implementation of evidence-based social policy on sexual harassment and other types of violence against women.
Throughout society and from all quarters of government victims are encouraged to report offences to the police, but those who dare to do so face a barrage of obstacles with negative repercussions on their lives. The of the influence of ideological variables highlight the importance of raising social awareness, and in developing effective tools and strategies for detecting and coping with harassment. It should be noted that this study has several limitations which can most certainly be rectified in the future. The study assessed how women think men will react to women who confront sexual harassment, using a story and questionnaires.
Though the literature on the usefulness of these types of studies is extensive, it nonetheless entails certain limitations. Due to the impossibility of recreating real-life situations, the participants in this study may have to fully evaluate and react as they would in real life. Thus, the size and the occupation of the sample used, as all participants are university students from Spain, is a limitation, so future studies should try to work with more heterogeneous samples which would allow the possible influence of cultural values, age, and sociodemographic and economic status to be analyzed.
Bearing in mind the limitations of this study, the shed some light on the understanding of how women think that men react to victims of harassment when they challenge such behaviour and on understanding some of the main obstacles hindering women from reporting harassment. This underscores the need for further research to advance our understanding of this phenomenon and to provide accurate definitions representing real-life incidents of sexual harassment that will help victims to identify and report incidents of harassment. Amnesty International. Retrieved from.
Baker, D. The influence of individual characteristics and severity of harassing behaviour on reactions to sexual harassment.
Sex Roles, 23, Barreto, M. The burden of benevolent sexism: How it contributes to the maintenance of gender inequalities. European Journal of Social Psychology, 35, Bergman, M. The un reasonableness of reporting: antecedents and consequences of reporting sexual harassment.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, Cala, M. Campbell, R. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, Cortina, L. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90, University of Granada. Granada, Spain. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 17, e40, Moya Eds. European Commission Sexual harassment in the workplace in the European Union. Fitzgerald, L. Antecedents and consequences of sexual harassment in organizations: A test of an integrated model.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 82, Measuring sexual harassment: Theoretical and psychometric advances. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 17, Gelfand, M. The structure of sexual harassment: A confirmatory analysis across cultures and settings. Journal of Vocational Behaviour, 47, Gerger, H. Aggressive Behavior, 33, Gracia, E.Woman who confronted me
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