Using rape myth research as a template, we developed a conceptual definition and measurement instrument for the mythology regarding male sexual harassment of women, resulting in the 20-item Illinois Sexual Harassment Myth Acceptance (ISHMA) Scale. Surveys from 337 students in the Midwestern region of the United States revealed that this measure consists of four factors, which share predicted relationships with rape mythology, sexism, hostility toward women, traditional attitudes toward women, and ideological support for the feminist movement. We also found that women and individuals with prior training on sexual harassment reject these myths more than men and untrained individuals. It is hoped that this new definition, conceptualization, and measure will advance knowledge on attitudes that support and perpetuate violence against women.
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Some of the work was conducted while the first author was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Louise Fitzgerald, Diane Payne, and Kellyn Zimmerlan.
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Lonsway, K.A., Cortina, L.M. & Magley, V.J. Sexual Harassment Mythology: Definition, Conceptualization, and Measurement. Sex Roles 58, 599–615 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9367-1