Sex Roles

, Volume 50, Issue 9–10, pp 623–639 | Cite as

Women's and Men's Reactions to Man-to-Man Sexual Harassment: Does the Sexual Orientation of the Victim Matter?

  • Eros DeSouzaEmail author
  • Solberg


We manipulated the sexual orientation of the victim in a hypothetical case to address 3 key questions: Is it harassment, does the case need to be investigated further, and is the harasser's behavior punishable? Our sample comprised 433 undergraduates (91.5% of whom were White). We hypothesized that women would rate the case as more sexually harassing, as needing further investigation, and as more punishable than men would. We also hypothesized that the sexual orientation of the victim would affect perceptions of the case; specifically, students would significantly rate the incident as more harassing, as needing further investigation, and would recommend more punishment when the victim was homosexual rather than heterosexual. We hypothesized that female respondents would perceive more categories of inappropriate behaviors perpetrated by men on other men as constituting sexual harassment than would male respondents. Furthermore, we hypothesized that lewd comments and enforcement of the traditional masculine gender role would predict responses to the 3 key questions asked about the case. With the exception of recommending greater punishment when the victim was homosexual rather than heterosexual, all hypotheses were supported.

gender differences sexual harassment of men sexual orientation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology (4620)Illinois State UniversityNormal
  2. 2.Department of FinanceInsurance & Law (Normal

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