COUNSELING CENTER

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND

 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT DURING THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS:

EXPERIENCES AND PERCEPTIONS OF INCOMING UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

 

Victoria J. Balenger and William E. Sedlacek

 

Research Report No. 4-92

 

This research project was supported by the Stamp Student Union and the Counseling Center, University of Maryland, College Park. Data were collected with the cooperation of the Orientation Office, Division of Student Affairs, University of Maryland, College Park. Computer time was provided by the Computer Science Center, University of Maryland, College Park.


COUNSELING CENTER

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND

COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND

 

SEXUAL HARASSMENT DURING THE HIGH SCHOOL YEARS:

EXPERIENCES AND PERCEPTIONS OF INCOMING UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

Victoria J. Balenger and William E. Sedlacek

Research Report No. 4-92

Summary

 

Incoming first-year students (N=317? at University of Maryland, College Park were surveyed about their experiences of sexual harassment by high school teachers. More than half of the respondents reported having experienced some of the "milder" forms of sexual or gender harassment during high school. Moderately severe incidents, such as sexual teasing, jokes, comments, or questions by teachers outsider of class, were reported by one-quarter of respondents. The most serious types of sexual harassment, those that actually involved sexual activity, were reported by only one percent of respondents. Student perceptions of the prevalence of sexual harassment in their high schools, specific incidents that constitute harassment, and the seriousness of various harassment incidents were also assessed.


Sexual Harassment

 

3

Sexual Harassment During the High School Years:

 

Experiences and Perceptions of Incoming University Students

 

Various researchers have addressed the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment at colleges and universities, where between 20% and 50! of women undergraduates and graduate students have reported being sexually harassed (Adams, Kotte, & Padgitt, 1983; Benson & Thomson, 1982; Cammaert, 1985; Glaser & Thorpe, 1986; Maihoff & Forrest, 1983; Mazer & Percival, 1989a; Reilly, Lott, & Gallogly, 19863. However, little attention has been focused on sexual harassment of students at the high school level.

 

The high school years represent a critical period of academic, social, and psychological development. There is reason to expect that an experience of sexual harassment might compromise a student's growth in these areas, especially in light of the evidence documenting the negative effects on women who have been harassed. For example, women who have been sexually harassed in the workplace have reported feelings of confusion, fear, anger, anxiety, depression, helplessness, and lower self-confidence (Benson & Thomson, 1982; Cammaert, 1985; Kass, 1985; Sandler, 1981;, as well as anxiety attacks, headaches, sleep disturbance, disordered eating, gastrointestinal disorders, nausea, weight loss (or gain), and crying spells (Crull, 1982; Gutek, 1981).

 

While such emotional and physical distress in itself can


Sexual Harassment

4

 

adversely affect academic performance, sexual harassment may also have more direct negative effects on a student's education. Malovich and Stake (1990) cited evidence that women who have been sexually harassed often react by avoiding the harasser, and may become more reluctant to form mentor relationships with other male faculty (Benson & Thomson, 1982; Sandler, 1981). They observed, "Hence, the harassment experience can have long-term negative effects on the student's sense of attachment to her. academic program and her enthusiasm for her academic work" (p. 64). In their study, Malovich and Stake (1990) found that college women with low self-esteem who had been sexually harassed coped by avoiding the teacher who harassed them. It seems clear that such avoidance behavior could be detrimental to a student's academic performance.

 

Although no published studies were found in which high school students have been surveyed about their sexual harassment experiences, there have been at least two studies of college students that addressed high school harassment. In a study of 1,178 male and female graduate and undergraduate students from four different academic departments, McCormack (1985) found that 17% of the women (N=89) and 2% of the men (N=13) had at one time been sexually harassed. Here; a definition of sexual harassment from the Council of Graduate Education (1980) was used: "Sexual harassment is defined as


Sexual Harassment

 

5

 

the use of one's authority to coerce another individual into sexual relations or to punish the other person for his/her refusal. Sexual harassment also includes any deliberate, repeated, unsolicited oral or written comment, statement, anecdote, gesture, or physical contact of a sexual nature that is offensive and unwelcomed" (p. 25).

 

With regard to the relative degree of sexual harassment at different educational levels, McCormack (1985) found that 38% of the 102 incidents reported by women had occurred during high school. Among the 89 graduate and undergraduate women who reported having been sexually harassed, 12% said they had been harassed on more than one educational level. In her discussion, the researcher suggested that, for women, the likelihood of being sexually harassed by teachers increases as they continue their educational careers.

 

In another study, Malovich and Stake (1990) surveyed 224 male and female undergraduate college students about their experiences with three categories of sexual harassment: inappropriate jokes/remarks; rude staring/inappropriate physical contact; and threat/promise in exchange for social-sexual interaction. These researchers found that 38% of the women and 12% of the men had been sexually harassed. Among women, 26% reported harassment by high school teachers, and 7% reported harassment by both high school and college teachers. Eleven percent of men had been harassed by high


Sexual Harassment

6

 

school teachers; none had experienced harassment in both settings. Students were asked to respond to two hypothetical sexual harassment scenarios, and their attributions of blame (victim, perpetrator, or neither) were significantly related to attitudes toward women, gender, and self-esteem. However, subjects who had been sexually harassed did not differ from those who had not in their attributions of blame.

 

There is some evidence that sexual harassment in the high schools is not perpetrated only by teachers. In a survey of North Carolina school superintendents, 38'1. reported having been a superintendent in a school system where an athletic coach had been disciplined for an improper relationship with a student (Wishnietsky & Felder, 1989). Also, a recent U.S. Supreme Court case involved a former Georgia high school student who had been sexually harassed by a male teacher and athletic coach. In a decision that expanded the scope of a 1972 law (Title IX) prohibiting sex discrimination in federally-funded programs, the court decided that students who experience sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination have the right to win money damages from their schools (Marcus, 1992).

 

Given the evidence that sexual harassment occurs at the high school level, it is important to document its prevalence and obtain information about student reactions to this phenomenon. The major purpose of this study was to assess the


Sexual Harassment

 

7

 

high school sexual harassment experiences of male and female students entering college. Because the students surveyed had not yet attended college, their responses can be viewed as "baseline data" on student experiences with sexual harassment during high school. In addition, student attitudes toward sexual harassment were assessed. Specifically, students were asked to estimate the frequency with which other males and females in their high schools experienced various forms of sexual harassment, to indicate which specific types of incidents they considered to be sexual harassment, and to rate the seriousness of various forms of sexual harassment.

 

While previous research has addressed attitudes toward sexual harassment among college students (Fitzgerald & Ormerod 1991; Malovich & Stake, 1990; Mazer & Percival, 1989b; Reilly, Lott, & Gallogly, 1986?, this survey of incoming college students should offer more information on the attitudes that develop during high school, unconfounded by the college experience.

 

Method

 

Participants were 148 male and 169 female incoming new students attending summer orientation on randomly selected days at a large, eastern university. Data were collected in a group setting, and participation was voluntary and anonymous. Nearly 100% of the students given the survey actually completed it. The mean age of the sample was 17.7 years


Sexual Harassment

 

8

 

(SD=.71). The majority of participants were White (71%), although Black (14%), Asian (11%), and Hispanic (2%) students were also represented.

 

Students were given a modified version of a survey used by Mazer and Percival (1989a), who drew most of their items from a survey originally developed by Reilly, Lott, & Gallogly (1986) (see Appendices A and B). After participants completed the survey, they were given a referral sheet that listed places on campus where they could go for counseling or information about sexual. harassment.

 

Chi square and descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data.

 

Results

Prevalence of Sexual Harassment

 

Table 1 summarizes the percentages of respondents that reported having experienced each incident on the survey. A majority, both male and female, reported having experienced some of the "milder" forms of sexual harassment during high school. Sixty-six percent reported that their teachers had made jokes or remarks in class that "put down" women; 61% reported that their teachers had told sexually explicit jokes or personal anecdotes; and 521. reported that their teachers had made jokes or remarks in class that "put down" men.

 

Incidents with teachers outside of class seemed to be less prevalent, although 24% of students indicated that their


Sexual Harassment 9 teachers had subjected them to sexual teasing, jokes, comments, or questions. The most serious forms of sexual harassment, those that involved attempts to kiss or fondle, sexual pressure, or actual sexual activity, were reported by only a few respondents (1% or less of the sample).

------------------------

Insert Table I about here.

------------------------

 

There were significant gender differences in relation to three sexual harassment incidents (chi square at .05 level). Females were significantly more likely than males to have experienced sexually suggestive comments made by teachers in class (females 22%, males 11%), and, outside of class, sexually suggestive looks or gestures (females 20%, males 4'L) and deliberate touching or physical closeness (females 22%, males 6X).

 

Perceptions of Sexual Harassment Experiences of Other Students

 

Table 2 summarizes participants' perceptions of how many female and male students in their high schools experienced various forms of sexual harassment. Although these items were not tested for significance, there appear to be several differences worth noting. Generally, participants perceived that males more often than females experienced sexually explicit jokes or personal anecdotes (males 36%, females 266) or sexually obscene language (males 26%, females 18'6) by


Sexual Harassment

10

teachers in class. Participants believed that women more

often experienced sexually suggestive comments by teachers in

class (females 16%, males 5%), and, outside of class, sexually

suggestive looks or gestures from teachers (females 16%, males

1%), sexual teasing, jokes, comments, or questions from

teachers (females 21%, males 11%), and deliberate touching or

physical closeness from teachers (females 12%, males 3%).

 

Insert Table 2 about here.

 

Perceptions of Specific Incidents that Constitute Sexual Harassment

 

Respondents were asked to indicate which specific incidents constituted sexual harassment. Results are summarized in Table 3. Participants tended to agree that some of the incidents in class and most of the incidents outside of class were sexual harassment. In class, sexually suggestive comments to students (84%) and jokes or remarks that "put down" homosexuals (55%) or women (41%) as a group were most likely to be perceived as sexual harassment. There were significant gender differences with regard to teachers telling sexually explicit jokes or anecdotes (females 37%, males 18%) or using obscene language (females 45%, males 25%), with females more often considering both of these to be harassment (chi square at .05 level).

 

 

Sexual Harassment

 

11

 

-------------------------

Insert Table 3 about here.

-------------------------

 

High percentages of male and female respondents tended to agree that most of the incidents outside of class constituted sexual harassment. Nearly all indicated that the following incidents were sexual harassment: attempts by the teacher to kiss or fondle a student (94X3; pressure for sexual activities (94X); communications to the effect that a student would experience either positive (94X3 or negative t96%3 consequences for participating in sexual activities, and actual sexual, activity that results from fear of negative consequences (93X3. Students were slightly less likely to agree that sexual activity resulting from positive incentives offered by the teacher was sexual harassment (84%).

 

There were two significant gender differences with regard to incidents outside of class (chi square at .O5 level). Females were more likely than males to consider pressure for social contact (females 62%, males 48%) and sexual activity resulting from positive incentives offered by the teacher (females 88%, males 79%) to be sexual harassment.

 

Ratings of the Seriousness of Various Incidents

 

Students were asked to rate the seriousness of 'various incidents that might be considered sexual harassment. Results are summarized in Table 4. Generally, students tended to rate

 


Sexual Harassment

12

 

incidents that occurred outside of class to be more serious than those that occurred in class. However, certain in-class incidents were considered to be serious or very serious by many students. Specifically, students indicated that making sexually suggestive comments to a student (76%), making remarks that "put down" women (44%) or homosexuals as a group (49%) were serious or very serious. There were significant gender differences in terms of the perceived seriousness of all incidents with teachers in class, with females rating all of them to be more serious than did males (chi square at .05 level).

 

--------------------------

 

Insert Table 4 about here.

 

--------------------------

 

With regard to incidents outside of class, students tended to consider all of them to be serious or very serious. Actual percentages of students who considered the incidents to be serious or very serious ranged from 57% to 99%. There were gender differences in terms of the perceived seriousness of five incidents with teachers outside of class (chi square at .05 level). Compared to males, females considered it to be more serious when teachers did each of the following things: made sexually suggestive looks or gestures toward a student subjected a student to sexual teasing, jokes, comments, or


Sexual Harassment

13

 

questions; pressured a student for social contact; pressured a

student for sexual activities; or had sex with a student who

participated because of positive incentives offered by the

teacher.

 

Discussion

Prevalence of Sexual Harassment

 

A major purpose of this study was to obtain "baseline data" on the frequency with which different types of sexual harassment are experienced by high school students. Although at least two studies have addressed harassment during the high school years (Malovich & Stake, 1990; MacCormick, 1985), each of these had rather low response rates that may have compromised the representativeness of the sample. In this study, nearly 100% of students who were given the survey actually completed it. Although females and White students are slightly over-represented (both by 7%), the demographics of the sample are similar to the population of incoming. first-year students for the semester in which data were collected (Office of Institutional Studies, 1991).

 

From the results of this study, it is apparent that sexual harassment by teachers is a part of students' high school experience that they bring with them to college. For example, high proportions of both the men and the women in this sample had experienced or observed teachers' using sexually obscene language, making sexually explicit jokes, or


Sexual Harassment

 

14

making jokes that "put down" women, men, or homosexuals. In

Till's (1980) framework of types of sexual harassment, such

experiences were characterized as "gender harassment". There

is evidence that gender harassment is also very prevalent on

college campuses (Cammaert, 1985; Mazer & Percival, 1981a;

Reilly et al., 1986) and in the federal workplace (USMSPB,

1981).

 

Although men and women reported having experienced similar levels of gender harassment during high school, women had more often been subjected to what Till (1980) called "seductive behavior". Women reported significantly more experiences in which a teacher had treated them as an object of sexual interest, for example, by making sexually suggestive looks or remarks to them or touching them. Another dimension that may be important in considering gender differences in harassment experiences is whether a incident occurs in or outside of class. Generally, incidents occurring outside of class were rated as more serious by respondents than those that occurred in class. Women more often than men reported having experienced two such incidents: being the object of teachers' sexually suggestive looks or gestures, and being subjected to deliberate touching or physical closeness.

 

The forms of sexual harassment involving direct-pressure and/or sexual activity were found to be the least prevalent. One percent or less of respondents reported having had these


Sexual Harassment

 

15

 

experiences, and there were no gender differences in this regard. Although it does not appear that many high school students are harassed to the point of having sex with their teachers, to whatever extent this does occur, the seriousness of this problem cannot be underestimated. Student affairs professionals should be prepared to offer counseling referrals to any student who has had such an experience, both to address any continuing academic or emotional-social effects, and to decrease the likelihood of revictimization during college.

 

Perceptions of Sexual Harassment Experiences of Other Students

 

Regarding perceptions of the frequency of various harassment incidents, these corresponded fairly well to respondents' reports of their own experiences. For example, 60% believed that "some" or "a few" females had had teachers make sexually suggestive comments to them; 221. of female respondents reported that this had actually happened to them. Fifty-six percent perceived that "some" or "a few" males had received sexually suggestive comments, while 111, of the males actually reported having had this experience.

 

Similar patterns were noted with a range of incidents including use of sexually obscene language, sexually suggestive looks or gestures, and pressure for social contact. The incidents which had been experienced by the highest proportion (more than 50%) of respondents -sexually


Sexual Harassment

 

16

 

explicit jokes or personal anecdotes and jokes or remarks that "put down" women or men - were often identified as having been experienced by "most" or "many" students during high school.

 

Respondents correctly perceived that women were harassed more often than men, for instance, 78% believed that none of the males in their high schools had been pressured for sexual activities, while 61% believed that. none of the females had had this experience. Also, respondents were accurate in their perception that fewer female and male students had experienced the more severe forms of sexual harassment, such as being threatened with negative consequences if one refused to participate in sexual activities with a teacher.

 

Perceptions of Specific Incidents that Constitute Sexual Harassment and Seriousness Ratings

 

Finally, respondents were asked to indicate which incidents they considered to be sexual harassment, and to rate the seriousness of each incident. While students were in consensus that the incidents involving pressure for sexual activity or actual sexual activity with a teacher constituted sexual harassment, and serious harassment at that, some of the most illuminating findings concerned the lesser incidents. Examination of responses in these "gray areas" raises two related issues that seem central to any debate about-sexual harassment.

 


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17

 

First is the question of how well students understand the dynamics of power and oppression that are assumed .by many to underlie sexual harassment (Benson & Thomson, 1982; Hoffman, 1986; MacKinnon, 1979). Although this issue was not directly addressed in this study, it is relevant to note that, among incidents in class, jokes or remarks that "put down" homosexuals (55%? or women (41%? were among the most likely to be perceived as sexual harassment. After sexually suggestive comments, these incidents of gender harassment were also considered to be the most serious in-class incidents. That both female and male students were able to recognize such jokes or remarks as harassment suggests an awareness of their insidious impact on gays/lesbians and women in the classroom.

 

Second is the issue of gender differences in perceptions of sexual harassment. The results in this area corroborate the evidence that undergraduate men and women perceive the same types of incidents or situations very differently (Adams, Kottke, & Padgitt, 1983; Collins & Blodgett, 1981; Kenig & Ryan, 1986; Mazer & Percival, 1989b; Reilly et al., 1986). (Similar findings have been reported with regard to faculty and graduate students (Fitzgerald & Ormerod, 1991)). In this study, women were more likely than men to consider two in-class behaviors by teachers to be sexual harassment: telling sexually explicit jokes or personal anecdotes and using sexually obscene language. Even more dramatic was the


Sexual Harassment

 

18

 

finding that, compared to men, women rated every in-class incident to be significantly more serious.

 

A similar pattern was noted with incidents outside of class. While all respondents tended to view these as sexual harassment and to take them seriously, there were significant gender differences that may be best understood in the context of divergent experiences of sexual socialization. Compared to men, women more often considered two of the incidents to be sexual harassment: pressure for social contact and (the student? participating in sexual activities because of a favor, reward, or anticipated positive consequences. Likewise, they rated five of the incidents to be significantly more serious.

 

Generally, it seems that the less overt incidents of sexual or gender harassment have very different symbolic significance for women and men. Where both might feel vulnerable and powerless in cases where they are directly pressured to have sex, women apparently feel more threatened by a teacher's sexual joke or social invitation. This heightened sensitivity may be attributable to women's experiences with a larger system of sexism that includes stereotypes them and limits their opportunities.

 

One aspect of this system that may have a profound influence on female perceptions is the reality of sexual coercion and violence that are often used by males to maintain


Sexual Harassment

 

19

 

the traditional power (im)balance. As noted earlier, the women in this study had more often than the men experienced three of the harassment incidents assessed by the survey. Over one-fifth had had a teacher subject them to deliberate touching or physical closeness outside of class. Thus, for women, even the "milder" incidents of gender harassment may serve both as disempowering reminders of their sexual vulnerability and as portents that the harassing behavior itself could escalate.

 

The "flip side" of how the substrate of sexism may affect perceptions of sexual harassment is that incidents which threaten or demean female students may seem inconsequential or even self-aggrandizing to male students (although this is not to say that the teacher's behavior should be excused). It might be easy for a male student to dismiss the sexually suggestive comments of a female teacher whose advances are unlikely to escalate, given the sociosexualscript in which men are usually the pursuers (Laws & Schwartz, 1977; McCormick & Jesser, 1983). Further, male students may feel a sense of camaraderie with a same-sex teacher who tells a dirty joke, especially given that most sexually explicit jokes in our society are from a heterosexual male perspective with females as the sexual objects. Of course, these dynamics probably change when a male student experiences more direct harassment, such as pressure for sexual activity by a male teacher.


Sexual Harassment

 

20

 

Finally, it is interesting to note that, when sexual activity with a teacher is involved, women are more likely to view this as exploitative and damaging to even the student who has received some reward or incentive. As with the incidents of gender harassment, this difference may reflect women's greater awareness that sexual harassment is essentially an abuse of power and authority.

 

Because men are usually able to take for granted that they will not be coerced or forced into sexual activity, and they likewise do not expect their educational and career opportunities to be compromised by sexual harassment, they may perceive this situation as a mutually-beneficial arrangement in which the student is choosing to exchange sex for personal gain. Women, who are often sexually coerced (Christopher, 1988; Murnen, Perot, & Byrne, 1989) and experience sexual harassment with some regularity (USMSPB), 1981, 1987), are better situated to understand that the student who has sex with a teacher for reward or incentive has been put in a double bind (i.e., her teacher has tied her academic success to her sexual compliance, and she does not have the power to effectively challenge this disposition) that compromises her ability to make a free choice.

 

Future Research Directions

 

This study has documented the high school experiences and current perceptions of sexual harassment in one group of


Sexual Harassment

 

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incoming college students. While the findings offer a starting point for those who want to understand the sexual harassment "history" of students entering college, additional research is needed to increase the breadth and depth of our knowledge about this complex issue.

Concerning the accuracy with which students reported their experiences of sexual harassment, it is important to note that memories and perceptions may change over time. Therefore, this retrospective study should be supplemented with research in which actual high school students are surveyed. In addition to providing confirmatory evidence, such research could include those students who never attend college (some of whom may have had their academic performance or self-concept compromised by experiences of sexual or gender harassment).

 

A related issue is that students entering college are in the midst of a developmental transition that may influence their responses to a survey on the emotionally-charged topic of sexual harassment. Thus, it might be illuminating to replicate this study with students at different class levels. The effects of other variables, including developmental stage and college experience (e.g., incidents of sexual or gender harassment) might also be assessed.

 

Another area that might be fruitfully explored with college students is the perceived effects of sexual or gender


Sexual Harassment

 

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harassment that has occurred during high school. From their vantage point, college students might be able to provide information on how the harassment affected them during high school, and how it continues to impact their academic and emotional-social functioning. Incidentally, this question

might also be used with college students in individual or group counseling to help them process earlier experiences of harassment.

 

Some of the most suggestive findings of this study concerned gender differences in perceptions-of sexual harassment. One question that deserves further study is whether women take "milder" incidents of gender harassment more seriously because they more often experience incidents in which they are the target of a teacher's sexual interest (e.g., sexually suggestive looks or gestures). Generally, the phenomonological nature of gender differences in this area suggests that a qualitative approach might be most useful in future research. Such qualitative data would provide a context for understanding the divergent experiences and assumptions that ultimately shape male and female perceptions of sexual harassment.


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References -

 

Adams, J.W., Kottke, J.L., & Padgitt, J.S. (1983). Sexual harassment of

university students. Journal of College Student Personnel, 24, 484-490.

 

Benson, D.J., & Thomson, G.E. (1982). Sexual harassment on a university

campus: The confluence of authority relations, sexual interest and gender stratification. Social Problems, 29, 236-251.

 

Cammaert, L.P. (1985). How widespread is sexual harassment on campus? The

International Journal of Women's Studies, 8, 388-397.

 

Christopher, F.S. (1988). An initial investigation into a continuum of

premarital sexual pressure. The Journal of Sex Research, 25 (2), 255-266.

 

Collins, E.G.C., & Blodgett, T.B. (1981). Sexual harassment ...some see it

...some won't. Harvard Business Review, 59, 76-95.

 

Council of Graduate Education, American Psychological Association annual

meeting, Toronto, Canada, 1980.

 

Crull, P. (1982). Stress effects of sexual harassment on the job:

Implications for counseling. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 52, 539-544.

 

Fitzgerald, L.F., & Ormerod, A.J. (1991). Perceptions of sexual harassment:

The influence of gender and academic context. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15, 281-294.


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Hoffman, F.L. (1986). Sexual harassment in academia: Feminist theory and

institutional practice. Harvard Educational Review, 56, 105-121.

 

Glaser, R.D., & Thorpe, J.S. (1986). Unethical intimacy: A survey of sexual

contact and advances between psychology educators and female graduate students. American Psychologist, 41, 43-51.

 

Gutek, B. (1981). Experiences of sexual harassment: Results from a

representative survey. Paper presented to the annual meeting of the

American Psychological Association, Los Angeles.

 

Kenig, S., & Ryan, J. (1986). Sex differences in levels of tolerance and

attribution of blame for sexual harassment on a university campus. Sex

Roles, 15, 535-549.

 

Koss, M.P. (1985). The hidden victim: Personality, attitudinal, and

situational characteristics. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 9,193-212.

 

Laws, J.L., & Schwartz, P. (1977). Sexual scripts: The social construction

of female sexuality. Hinsdale, IL: The Dryden Press.

 

Maihoff, N. & Forrest, L. (1983). Sexual harassment in higher education: An

assessment study. Journal of the National Association for Women Deans,

Administrators, and Counselors, 46, 3-8.


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MacKinnon, C.A. (1979). Sexual harassment of working women: A case of sex

discrimination. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

 

Malovich, N.J., & Stake, J.E. (1990). Sexual harassment on campus:

Individual differences in attitudes and beliefs. Psychology of Women

Quarterly, 14, 63-81.

 

Marcus, R. (1992, February 27). Harassment damages approved: High court

expands protection against sex discrimination. The Washington Post, No. 84, pp. A1-A6.

 

Mazer, D.B., & Percival, E.F. (1989a). Students experiences of sexual

harassment at a small university. Sex Roles, 20 (1!2), 1-22.

 

Mazer, D.B., & Percival, E.F. (1989b). Ideology or experience? The

relationships among perceptions, attitudes, and experiences of sexual harassment in university students. Sex Roles, 20(3-4), 135-147.

 

McCormack, A. (1985). The sexual harassment of students by teachers: The

case of students in science. Sex Roles, 13(1-2), 21-32.

 

McCormick, N.B., & Jesser, C.J. (1983). The courtship game: Power in the

sexual encounter. In E.R. Allgeier & N.B. McCormick (Eds.), Changing

boundaries: Gender roles and sexual behavior (pp. 64-86). Palo Alto,

CA: Mayfield.


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Murnen, S.K., Perot, A., & Byrne, D. (1989). Coping with unwanted sexual

activity: Normative responses, situational determinants, and individual differences. The Journal of Sex Research, 26 (1), 85-106.

 

Office of Institutional Studies (1991). Full-time and part-time enrollments

by class level, sex, and race: UMCP, Fall, 1991. College Park:

University of Maryland.

 

Reilly, M.E., Lott, B., & Gallogly, S.M. (1986). Sexual harassment of

university students. Sex Roles, 15, 333-358.

 

Sandler, B.R. (1981). Sexual harassment: A hidden problem. Educational

Record, 62, 52-57.

 

Till, F.J. (1980). Sexual harassment: A report on the sexual harassment of

students. Washington, DC: Department of Education.

 

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (USMSPB) (1951). Sexual harassment of

federal workers: Is it a problem? Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

 

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (USMSPB) (1987). Sexual harassment of

federal workers: An update. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

 

Wishnietsky, D., & Felder, D. (1989). Assessing coach-student

relationships. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation

and Dance, 60(7), 76-79.


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Table 1: Percentages of Males and Females that Reported Experiencing Various Incidents of Sexual Harassment During High School

Incident

Males

 

Females

 

Total

 

N

%

 

N

%

 

N

%

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS IN CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually explicit jokes/anecdotes

95

65

 

95

57

 

190

61

Sexually obscene language

62

42

 

64

38

 

126

40

Sexually suggestive comments (a)

16

11

 

37

22

 

53

17

Jokes/remarks that put down women

91

66

 

110

66

 

201

66

Jokes/remarks that put down men

83

58

 

79

47

 

162

52

Jokes/remarks that put down homosexuals

54

39

 

47

28

 

101

33

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS OUTSIDE OF CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually suggestive looks/gestures (a)

6

4

 

33

20

 

39

12

Sexual teasing/jokes/comments/questions

26

19

 

47

28

 

73

24

Deliberate touching/physical closeness

9

6

 

37

22

 

46

15

Pressure for social contact

6

4

 

13

8

 

19

6

Attempts to kiss or fondle

1

1

 

3

2

 

4

1

Pressure for sexual activities

1

1

 

2

1

 

3

1

Implied positive consequences for participating in sexual activities

0

0

 

2

1

 

2

1

Implied negative consequences for participating in sexual activities

0

0

 

1

1

 

1

0

Participation in sexual activities for favor/reward or other positive consequence

1

1

 

0

0

 

1

0

Participation in sexual activities for fear of negative consequence or due to pressure or threat

1

1

 

0

0

 

1

0

 

(a) Gender difference significant at .05 level (chi square).


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29

 

Table 2: Respondent Perceptions of How Many Male and Female Students Experienced Various Incidents of Sexual Harassment During High School

Incident

Perceptions (% Selecting Each Category)

 

Most/Many

 

Some/Few

 

None

 

M

F

 

M

F

 

M

F

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS IN CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually Explicit jokes/anecdotes

36

26

 

58

68

 

6

6

Sexually obscene language

26

18

 

57

60

 

17

22

Sexually suggestive comments

5

16

 

56

60

 

39

24

Jokes/remarks that put down women

43

40

 

45

52

 

12

8

Jokes/remarks that put down men

14

18

 

68

61

 

18

20

Jokes/remarks that put down homosexuals

24

19

 

51

53

 

24

28

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS OUTSIDE OF CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually suggestive looks/gestures

1

16

 

54

61

 

45

23

Sexual teasing/jokes/comments/questions

11

21

 

61

60

 

29

19

Deliberate touching/physical closeness

3

12

 

45

63

 

52

38

Pressure for social contact

1

3

 

35

51

 

64

46

Attempts to kiss or fondle

0

3

 

25

43

 

166

73

Pressure for sexual activities

0

2

 

22

37

 

188

78

Implied positive consequence for participating in sexual activities

0

2

 

22

34

 

78

65

Implied negative consequences for refusing to participate in sexual activities

1

2

 

15

26

 

85

73

Participation in sexual activities for favor/reward or other positive consequence

0

0

 

17

29

 

217

83

Participation in sexual activities for fear of negative consequence or due to pressure or threat

1

1

 

10

25

 

229

89

Note. No tests of significance were run for these responses.


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31

Table 3: Male and Female Respondent Perceptions of Which Specific Incidents Constitute Sexual Harassment

Incident

 

 

 

 

 

 

% Who Believe Incident is Harassment

 

Male

 

Female

 

Total

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS IN CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually Explicit jokes/anecdotes(a)

18

 

37

 

28

Sexually obscene language(a)

25

 

45

 

36

Sexually suggestive comments

82

 

85

 

84

Jokes/remarks that put down women

39

 

43

 

41

Jokes/remarks that put down men

37

 

39

 

38

Jokes/remarks that put down homsexuals

52

 

57

 

55

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS OUTSIDE OF CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually suggestive looks/gestures

83

 

88

 

86

Sexual teasing/jokes/comments/questions

69

 

75

 

72

Deliberate touching/physical closeness

88

 

88

 

88

Pressure for social contact(a)

48

 

62

 

55

Attempts to kiss or fondle

93

 

94

 

94

Pressure for sexual activities

94

 

95

 

94

Implied positive consequence for participating in sexual activities

93

 

95

 

94

Implied negative consequences for refusing to participate in sexual activities

96

 

96

 

96

Participation in sexual activities for favor/reward or other positive consequence(a)

79

 

88

 

84

Participation in sexual activities for fear of negative consequence or due to pressure or threat

91

 

95

 

93

 

(a) Gender difference significant at .05 level (chi square).

 

 

 



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33

Table 4: Male and Female Respondent Perceptions of the Seriousness of Various Incidents of Sexual Harassment

Incident

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

% Rating Incident in Each Category (a)

 

 

 

Very

 

Serious

 

Somewhat

 

Not

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS IN CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually Explicit jokes/anecdotes(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

10

 

23

 

36

 

32

Females

46

 

33

 

32

 

16

Total

15

 

29

 

33

 

23

Sexually obscene language(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

7

 

17

 

33

 

44

Females

10

 

28

 

38

 

36

Total

8

 

23

 

36

 

33

Sexually suggestive comments(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

12

 

29

 

31

 

28

Females

23

 

33

 

26

 

19

Total

18

 

31

 

28

 

23

Jokes/remarks that put down women(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

10

 

23

 

36

 

32

Females

46

 

33

 

32

 

33

Total

15

 

29

 

33

 

23

Jokes/remarks that put down men(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

7

 

17

 

33

 

44

Females

10

 

28

 

38

 

24

Total

8

 

23

 

36

 

33

Jokes/remarks that put down homosexuals(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

12

 

29

 

31

 

28

Females

23

 

33

 

26

 

19

Total

18

 

31

 

28

 

23

INCIDENTS WITH TEACHERS OUTSIDE OF CLASS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexually suggestive looks/gestures(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

29

 

43

 

18

 

11

Females

50

 

33

 

14

 

4

Total

40

 

38

 

16

 

7

Sexual teasing/jokes/comments/questions(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

18

 

31

 

35

 

16

Females

32

 

32

 

24

 

12

Total

25

 

32

 

30

 

14

Deliberate touching/physical closeness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

58

 

26

 

9

 

8

Females

67

 

21

 

5

 

7

Total

62

 

24

 

7

 

7

Pressure for social contact(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

21

 

28

 

32

 

19

Females

42

 

29

 

18

 

11

Total

32

 

29

 

25

 

15

Attempts to kiss or fondle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

77

 

17

 

3

 

3

Females

85

 

13

 

1

 

2

Total

81

 

15

 

2

 

2

Pressure for sexual activities(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

78

 

16

 

3

 

3

Females

90

 

6

 

1

 

3

Total

85

 

11

 

2

 

3

Implied positive consequence for participating in sexual activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

83

 

13

 

2

 

2

Females

90

 

6

 

1

 

2

Total

87

 

9

 

2

 

2

Implied negative consequences for refusing to participate in sexual activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

88

 

8

 

1

 

2

Females

93

 

4

 

0

 

2

Total

91

 

6

 

1

 

2

Participation in sexual activities for favor/reward or other positive consequence(b)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

79

 

16

 

3

 

2

Females

92

 

6

 

2

 

1

Total

86

 

10

 

2

 

2

Participation in sexual activities for fear of negative consequence or due to pressure or threat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Males

88

 

9

 

1

 

2

Females

95

 

4

 

0

 

1

Total

92

 

7

 

0

 

2

 

(a) Categories are Very Serious, Serious, Somewhat Serious, Not Serious. (b) Gender difference significant at .05 level (chi square).


Sexual Harassment

 

39

 

Appendix A

 

Instructions and Item Format

 

Opinion Survey 4

 

We are attempting to gather information about new students that will ultimately help the university provide better services. Your participation in this study is VOLUNTARY and ANONYMOUS so please do not sign your name anywhere on the survey. Thank you for your help.

 

Directions:

 

1. First complete the Demographics section.

2. Below is a list of incidents that students might experience

during their high school years. Please read each of the

incidents and circle your answers to the questions under

each situation.

 

Incidents In Class

 

1. Teacher tells sexually explicit jokes or personal anecdotes.

 

a. How many male students in your high school do you think had this experience?

 

Most Many Some A few None

 

b. How many female students in your high school do you think had this experience?

 

Most Many Some A few None

 

c. Did you ever have this experience during high school?

 

yes no

 

d. Is this sexual harassment? yes no

 

e. How serious is this incident - how much of a problem is it when it occurs?

 

Not serious Somewhat serious Serious Very serious


Sexual Harassment

 

40

 

Appendix B

 

Sexual Harassment Incidents

 

INCIDENTS IN CLASS

 

1. Teacher tells sexually explicit jokes or personal anecdotes.

 

2. Teacher uses sexually obscene language.

 

3. Teacher makes sexually suggestive comments to students.

 

4. Teacher makes jokes or remarks that put down women as a group.

 

5. Teacher makes jokes or remarks that put down men as a group.

 

b. Teacher makes jokes or remarks that put down homosexuals as a group.

 

INCIDENTS OUTSIDE OF CLASS

 

7. Student receives sexually suggestive looks or gestures from teacher.

 

8. Student receives sexual teasing, jokes, comments, or questions from teacher.

 

9. Student experiences deliberate touching or physical closeness from teacher.

 

10. Student receives pressure for social contact (such as coffee, drinks, or dates) from teacher.

 

11. Student experiences attempts to kiss or fondle him/her by teacher.

 

12. Student receives pressure for sexual activities from teacher.

 

13., Student approached by teacher who implies that participating in sexual activities would bring a favor, reward, or other positive personal or academic consequences.

 

(continued)


Sexual Harassment

 

41

 

Appendix B (continued)

 

Sexual Harassment Incidents

 

14. Student approached by teacher who implies that refusing to participate in sexual activities would bring negative personal or academic consequences (such as bad grades, rumors about one's reputation, or physical harm?.

 

15. Student participates in sexual activities with teacher because of a favor, reward, or anticipated positive personal or academic consequences.

 

16. Student participates in sexual activities with teacher because of fear of negative personal or academic consequences, or due to psychological or physical pressure or threat.