Sexual Assault and Harassment: A Campus Community Case Study

  • Published on
    15-Jan-2017

  • View
    215

  • Download
    0

DESCRIPTION

Sexual Assault and Harassment: A Campus Community Case Study Author(s): Bernice Lott, Mary Ellen Reilly and Dale R. Howard Source: Signs, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Winter, 1982), pp.…

Transcript

Sexual Assault and Harassment: A Campus Community Case Study Author(s): Bernice Lott, Mary Ellen Reilly and Dale R. Howard Source: Signs, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Winter, 1982), pp. 296-319 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3173901 . Accessed: 18/06/2014 22:21 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org. . The University of Chicago Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Signs. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ucpress http://www.jstor.org/stable/3173901?origin=JSTOR-pdf http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp REVISIONS/REPORTS Sexual Assault and Harassment: A Campus Community Case Study Bernice Lott, Mary Ellen Reilly, and Dale R. Howard In the fall of 1979 several women students at the University of Rhode Island publicly accused male peers of sexual assault. Charges were brought before the university judicial system, leading to grand jury in- dictments, criminal trials, and subsequent acquittals. As a result, many EDITORS' NOTE: Howz serious and widespread a problem is sexual harass- ment in our universities? What means will effectively diminish its incidence with- out violating the rights of individuals? Each of thefollowing essays answers one of these two questions. In the first, Bernice Lott, Mary Ellen Reilly, and Dale Howard describe the results of a 1979 survey that examined a sample of the entire University of Rhode Island population. Its purpose was to determine how many of the respondents in the sample group had personal knowledge of or had experienced any form of sexual assault, intimidation, or insult; how they had responded to assault; and their beliefs about harassment in general. In the second essay, Judith Berman Brandenburg delineates a response to the problem worked out at Yale University: the establishment of a grievance procedure administered through a specially selected board. The process of this honest search for answers uncovers other questions: Do we have a definition of sexual harassment upon which most people will agree? Is power thefactor that transforms what may be cajolery into harassment? If so, power in what forms? Do these forms make the problem in- vulnerable to any solution? With these essays we open a dialogue on such ques- tions. We invite your letters in response, in the hope that through the exchange we canfurther advance feminist efforts to analyze-and to overcome-this pernicious form of sexual injustice. [Signs: Journal of W'omen in Culture and Society 1982, vol. 8, no. 2] O 1982 by The Universitv of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0097-9740/83/0802-0004$01.00 296 This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 297 people joined the press in openly discussing the general climate of re- lations between the sexes within the university. Reports of sexual insults, intimidation, and attacks had begun to circulate earlier on campus fol- lowing a student newspaper story about a Professor X, who had allegedly lured a student off campus for sexual purposes. Although concerned individuals now voiced questions and complaints, it was difficult to assess the actual extent of the problem both on and off the campus without a data base. In response, a campus committee decided to undertake a survey of the entire university community to ask students, faculty, and staff di- rectly about experiences of sexual harassment on campus.1 Our objective was to obtain information about perceptions of the campus situation, personal experiences both on and off the campus, and attitudes toward sexual harassment-without overburdening our respondents. We also wished to avoid ambiguity in all questions by clearly defining concepts. We began, therefore, by delineating a continuum of behavior that con- cerned us-from the extreme of physical sexual assault, to intimidation through threats or bribery, to verbal and nonverbal sexual insults. We borrowed ideas and questions from a number of questionnaires recently devised for use at universities or in large organizations and industries,2 but we decided to use definitions embodied in Rhode Is- land's sexual assault statute wherever possible. This law, passed by the state legislature in January 1979, is in many ways a model of contempo- rary, progressive legislation in this area; from it we took our definition of sexual assault as forced sexual contact without consent involving touch- ing or penetration. We defined each of the critical terms as un- ambiguously as possible, in accordance with the Rhode Island law. The questions in our nine-page survey, which took approximately thirty minutes to complete, were applicable to the experiences of both women and men and covered the following areas: demographic in- formation (age, university status, etc.); knowledge of other persons on the campus who had been sexually assaulted; personal experience of assault on campus; personal experience of sexual assault anywhere; ac- tual and potential experience as a sexual assaulter; knowledge of sexual 1. We were joined on the Assessment Task Group of the Committee on Sexual Harassment by Rod Crafts, director of student relations; Wendy Howard, undergraduate; and Joan Mahoney, chaplain. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of committee members to all phases of this project, as well as the able assistance of Amy Shavelson. We also wish to thank Bill Zwick for his assistance with the computer and Frank Newman for his financial support. 2. We are grateful to the following persons, who generously permitted us to profit from their work: Elizabeth A. Stanko, Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Clark University; Donna Meeks, Everywoman's Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Donna Benson, Associated Students, University of California at Berkeley; D.C. Commission for Women, Government of the District of Columbia; Janice DiGirolamo, AFSCME Illinois, Council 31; E. L. Johnson, coordinator, Women's Activities, AFSCME. Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment intimidation experienced by others on campus; personal experience of intimidation on campus; experience of having been offered sexual con- tact in exchange for job- or school-related benefits; opinions about the frequency of sexual insults on and off campus; personal experience of sexual insult; and, finally, attitudes toward and acceptance of specific sexually harassing behaviors.3 Comparison of our data with the findings of other investigators is complicated by differences in scope, methodology, and, most important, definitions of key concepts. Our study not only obtained information about a wider range of behaviors than most others but also investigated a more heterogeneous population; we asked all questions of both women and men, and we sampled a large community of persons varying in age and status. We also made important distinctions in our categories of sexually harassing behaviors. Forced physical contact denoted sexual assault, in contrast to the threats and bribes involved in instances of intimidation, and to the more general harassment of sexual insult. De- spite these real problems in comparing our results with other recent data, we believe that important similarities will be discernible. The population of concern in this investigation was the entire uni- versity community of 13,617 persons-including undergraduate and graduate students and all full-time faculty, administrators, and staff-at our three primary campuses as of January 1980. We divided this popu- lation into twelve categories according to university status and randomly selected a 14 percent sample from each category by choosing every sev- enth name on official lists.4 This procedure yielded a sample of 1,954 names. In direct accord with their representation in the population, under- graduate students constituted approximately 67 percent of our sample; graduate students, 13 percent; faculty, 7 percent; and staff/employees, 14 percent. The ratio of women to men was 48 percent to 52 percent. Of the 1,954 persons selected for our sample, ten could not be reached at the address we had available, so our actual sample consisted of 1,944 persons. Procedure We mailed a questionnaire to each person selected, along with a prepaid return envelope and an explanatory cover letter that solicited cooperation and assured anonymity to respondents. No record was kept 3. Copies of the questionnaire are available from the authors. 4. These categories wer-e main campus undergraduates, extension division under- graduates, graduate students, extension division graduate students, faculty, nonclassified staff, clerical staff, classified nonunion staff, administration (union), nurses, AFSCME staff (e.g., maintenance, cooks, telephone operators), and technical unit staff. 298 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 299 of persons to whom the surveys were mailed, and two weeks after the mailing we placed advertisements in the campus newspaper to remind our sample to return their responses. A separate sheet of paper was included with each survey on which a respondent could volunteer to be interviewed. We also supplied the names and phone numbers of campus counselors available to anyone who wished "to talk confidentially with someone about any of the issues raised" in the survey. Persons who indicated a willingness to be inter- viewed were contacted individually by one of five interviewers familiar with the objectives of the investigation and the contents of the question- naire. Each interview was conducted by a same-sex interviewer who as- sured the interviewee that his or her questionnaire responses were un- known and that the interviewee's anonymity would be protected. Each interview was open-ended and began with the simple question "What would you like to tell me about the issues dealt with in the survey?" Survey Findings Of the 1,944 deliverable questionnaires mailed to our sample, 927-or 47.7 percent-were returned with some portion of the ques- tions answered, a relatively high return rate for mailed questionnaires of this length. Thus, more than 900 women and men from all areas of the university community took thirty or more minutes to respond to a nine- page questionnaire dealing with personal, emotional, and controversial issues. This number of respondents represents 7 percent of the univer- sity population of students, staff, and faculty. We do not know, of course, how persons who chose not to return surveys differed from those who did. We assume that our 927 re- spondents were more interested in the issues of this investigation and/or more willing to be cooperative, but beyond this we can only treat their answers at face value and examine how well they represented the sample in terms of demographic characteristics. Respondent Characteristics Of the total number of respondents, 919 identified their sex: 542 females and 377 males, or 59 percent and 41 percent, respectively. The difference between these percentages and the female/male ratio in the sample (48 percent to 52 percent) is a statistically significant one (critical ratio = 5.5, p < .001), indicating that reliably more women (and fewer men) completed questionnaires than their proportionate share within the sample. The question on age was answered by 909 respondents. As was predictable from the large number of students in the sample, the major- Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment ity were twenty-three or younger (59 percent); 24 percent were between twenty-four and thirty-three; and 18 percent were thirty-four or older. Sixty-two percent of the female respondents and 53 percent of the male respondents were twenty-three years old or younger, indicating that more younger women responded relative to men. This sex difference in age of respondents is statistically significant (X2 = 9.52, df = 3, p < .05). On the basis of data collected about each person's position in the university, we divided the respondents into six categories of reasonably good size. As can be seen from table 1, 61 percent of all respondents were main campus undergraduates; in the sample they constituted 62 percent. Extension division undergraduates constituted 7 percent of the respondents and 5 percent of the sample; graduate students (all cam- puses combined) made up 13 percent of both the respondents and the sample; faculty constituted 8 percent of the respondents and 7 percent of the sample; and all staff personnel made up 11 percent of the re- spondent group and 14 percent of the sample. Clearly the persons who responded are representative of the sample, at least in terms of their positions within the university. The correspondence between group proportions in the respondent and sample groups is remarkably close; extension division undergraduates (who are primarily women who have returned to school) are slightly overrepresented among respondents, while nonfaculty staff are slightly underrepresented. The proportion of responding women and men within each status group was compared with their proportion within the sample. Among main campus undergraduates who returned questionnaires, 63 percent were women and 37 percent were men, whereas the undergraduate main campus sample consisted of 49 percent women and 51 percent men. This sizable difference, indicating greater responsiveness to the survey among the undergraduate women, is statistically significant (criti- cal ratio = 7.0,p < .001). Extension division undergraduate women also responded in a number greater than their proportionate share of the Table 1 University Status of the Respondents Women Men Total Status Groups N % N % N % Under-graduates (main campus) ................ 344 63 205 37 549 61 Undergraduates (extension) ................... 49 77 15 23 64 7 Graduate students ............................ 54 47 62 53 116 13 Clerical, technical, other staff. .................. 46 84 9 16 55 6 Professional staff, administrators ............... 23 49 24 51 47 5 Faculty ...................................... 18 26 50 74 68 8 Total ...................................... 534 59 365 41 899 100 300 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 301 sample (77 percent vs. 69 percent), while their male counterparts re- sponded in a number less than their share (23 percent vs. 31 percent); this difference, however, is not a statistically reliable one. The pro- portions of responding graduate students and faculty conform well to their respective proportions in the sample (47 percent and 43 percent for graduate women; 53 percent and 57 percent for graduate men; 26 percent and 28 percent for women faculty; and 74 percent and 72 per- cent for the faculty men). We cannot provide similar comparisons of the sample and the respondents within the two specific staff groups because of some differences between self-designation and official designation of status, but it appears that, as among the faculty, the percentages of women and men responding to the survey matched the percentages in the sample. It is primarily the undergraduate women who account for the greater overall response rate of the women. The male respondents tended to have been at the university longer than the female respondents. Of the 542 women and 377 men who answered this question, 25 percent of the men and 24 percent of the women had been at the university for less than one year; 46 percent of the women and 40 percent of the men between one and three years; 19 percent and 22 percent, respectively, for women and men, four to six years; and 10 percent of the women and 15 percent of the men had been at the university for seven or more years. The overall sex difference on this variable is a statistically significant one (X2 = 8.03, df = 3,p < .05). Of the 542 women who indicated their marital status, 70 percent had never been married; 7 percent were separated, divorced, or widowed; and 23 percent were married. Of the 375 men who responded to this question, 64 percent were never married; 4 percent were sepa- rated or divorced; and 32 percent were married. The difference in female and male marital status is statistically reliable (X2 = 12.84, df = 2, p < .01). Summary.-All data consistently indicate that, among the young undergraduate respondents, proportionately more women than men returned the questionnaire, whereas the opposite was true among older and married persons who had been at the university longer. In terms of university status, however, our respondents correspond remarkably well to their respective proportions within the population. We do not know what nonrespondents would have told us; this remains a critical issue in all survey research. We assume that those who responded to our survey were interested enough to do so but had no special axes to grind. Our data clearly indicate wide variation and heterogeneity in experiences, backgrounds, and points of view; we did not, certainly, hear only from people with lurid stories to tell. We as- sume, further, that our respondents generally told us the truth about themselves and their acquaintances and that the number of those who wished to withhold information did not differ from the number of those who wished to exaggerate. All investigations using anonymous question- Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment naires as their source of information must make essentially the same assumptions. Sexual Assault Personal knowledge of sexual assault of someone other than self at the university.-A series of questions elicited information on this issue. Sex- ual assault was defined as sexual contact through the use of force, threatened force, or a weapon, without consent, as inferred from re- fusal, helplessness, or incapacitation. Two categories of assault were sep- arately investigated: forced touching of intimate body parts, and pen- etration (vaginal, anal, or oral). As shown in table 2, 172 respondents cited cases of sexual assault that they knew occurred on campus to someone other than themselves. Of this number, some respondents cited more than one instance, but 122 persons cited at least one. Of the total number of 927 respondents, Table 2 Sexual Assaults at the University Known to Have Occutrred to Someone Other than Self Total Cases Touching Penetr-ation N Sex of victim: Fem ale ...................... M ale ......................... T otal ...................... Sex of assaulter: Fem ale ...................... M ale ......................... T otal ...................... Num ber of assaulters: O ne ......................... Two or imorie ................. T otal ...................... Location of assault: In or near residence hall ...... In or near sorority ............ In or near fratelnity .......... Inside office/class/libl-rar ....... Car or parking lot ............ On-campus pub area .......... Party or dance ................ Off-campus residence ......... T otal ...................... 134 33 167 97 4 1 5 3 138 34 5 0 130 33 172 100 5 3 163 97 135 33 168* 100 104 22 126 75 30 11 41 25 134 33 167* 100 48 22 23 11 6 7 7 2 10 11 6 2 0 0 0 1 O 1 58 33 29 13 6 7 7 3 37 21 19 8 4 4 4 2 126 30 156* 1 00 *These Lnumt)ers lare less than the 172 assaults, since tewer respondents answerled questions about the sex of the assaultel, number of atssaulters, and locations of assault than aboUlt the sex of the victim. tPeicentages do not add up to 1(00 petcent because of oundinng. 302 Lott et al. c; This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 therefore, 13 percent (or one out of every eight persons) knew at least one person who had been sexually assaulted on campus. What is not known and cannot be reasonably estimated is the number of cited cases reported by more than one respondent. In other words, we do not know if all of the 172 cases are independent. Women constitute the vast majority of those reported to have been assaulted (97 percent), and men the vast majority of assaulters (97 per- cent). In 25 percent of the cases cited, more than one assaulter was involved. Most reported assaults (77 percent) took place in or near res- idence halls, fraternities, sororities, or other similar buildings; 8 percent were reported to have occurred in academic buildings, including the library. Personal experience of sexual assault at the university.-Table 3 sum- Table 3 Sexual Assaults at the University Experienced by Respondents Total Cases Touching Penetration N %c Sex of victim: Female ...................... Male ......................... Total ...................... Sex of assaulter: Female ...................... Male ......................... Total ...................... Number of assaulters: O ne ......................... Two or more ................. T otal ...................... Location of assault: In or near residence hall ...... In or near fraternity .......... In or near sorority ............ Inside office/class/library ....... On-campus pub area .......... Party/dance .................. T otal ...................... Relationship of assaulter(s): Acquaintance ................. Stranger ..................... Friend ....................... D ate ......................... Co-worker ................... Total ...................... 41 11 52 3 0 3 95 5 44 11 55 100 3 0 3 5 41 11 52 95 44 11 38 4 55 49 4 11 0 42 11 11 8 13 1 6 1 5 0 4 1 1 0 40 19 7 2 3 2 11 8 0 2 1 0 100 92 8 53 100 19 37 14 27 7 14 5 10 5 10 1 2 51 27 17 4 4 2 100 50 31 7 7 4 43 11 54 100oot tPercentages do not add up to 100 percent because of rounding. Signs 303 This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment marizes data gathered in another set of questions about respondents' own experiences with sexual assault. Of the fifty-five such instances re- ported, women were the victims of fifty cases of assault by one or more men and of two cases of assault by a woman. The three assaults on men were committed by men in two instances and by a woman in one. Some persons reported having been sexually assaulted more than once. Of the forty-two persons who reported being assaulted at least once at the uni- versity, three were men (.8 percent of the male respondents) and thirty- nine were women (7.1 percent of the female respondents). Thus, based on respondent reports, and assuming the representativeness of our sample, the probability of a man being sexually assaulted on the univer- sity campus is one out of 125; for a woman, the probability is one out of fourteen. The vast majority of women reporting assaults (71 percent) were main campus undergraduates, thirty of whom reported having been assaulted at least once. If we compare the number of main campus undergraduate women who reported being sexually assaulted at least once (thirty) with their total number in the respondent group (344), we find an assault rate of 8.7 percent, or one out of every eleven such vwomen. Of the assaults reported, 78 percent occurred in or near some cam- pus residence; 10 percent in or near the campus pub; and 10 percent in an academic building. Half of all reported assaults were perpetrated by acquaintances (persons known but not well); 18 percent by co-workers, friends, or dates; and only 31 percent by total strangers. No other re- lationships were reported by respondents. We asked those who experienced assaults to indicate the persons with whom they had discussed the incident. Of the twenty-seven who responded, 4 percent had spoken to no one, 78 percent had talked with a friend or roommate, and 11 percent had talked with a co-worker or some other person; only 7 percent reported an assault to the police. This figure suggests that allegations of assault known to the police should be multiplied by fourteen in order to get a true estimate of the incidence of sexual assault at the university within the past few years. Personal experience of sexual assault someplace other than at the university.-We asked respondents to relate their experiences of sexual assault (as defined previously) "anywhere ... at any time" in their lives, excluding university experiences. As table 4 shows, the respondents re- ported having personally experienced 239 sexual assaults at some time in their lives; 88 percent of the reports came from women and 12 per- cent from men. Women were named as assaulters 3 percent of the time, and men were named 96 percent of the time. (A male-female pair ac- counted for one assault.) Ninety-five percent of the cases involved one assaulter. Among the women, 161 reported at least one sexual assault at some time (somewhere other than the university); this figure represents 304 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Signs Winter 1982 305 29.4 percent of the female respondents, or almost one out of every three women. Among the men, twenty reported at least one assault; this is 5.3 percent, or one out of every twenty men. If we examine the university status of the women who reported at least one sexual assault, we find that 58 percent are main campus under- graduates; 12 percent are extension division undergraduates; 15 per- cent are graduate students; and 5 percent each are staff workers, professional/administrators, and faculty. These percentages are close to the proportions of the groups among the respondents (.64, .09, .10, .09, Table 4 Sexual Assaults Experienced Someplace Other than at the University Total Cases Touching Penetration N % Sex of victim: Female ...................... 163 48 211 88 Male ......................... 26 2 28 12 Total ...................... 189 50 239 100 Sex of assaulter(s): Female ...................... 7 1 8 3 Male ......................... 181 47 228 96 Male/female pair.............. 0 1 1 1 Total ...................... 188 49 237 100 Number of assaulters: One ......................... 177 48 225 95 Two or more ................. 10 2 12 5 Total ...................... 187 50 237 100 Location of assault: Residence of another person ... 29 13 42 18 Victim's home ................ 23 16 39 17 Outdoors .................... 28 4 32 14 Auto/parking lot .............. 18 6 24 10 Public place/transportation ..... 15 1 16 7 B ar .......................... 15 0 15 7 Workplace ................... 9 1 10 4 Miscellaneous/other ........... 45 7 52 23 Total ...................... 182 48 230 100 Relationship of assaulter(s): Stranger ..................... 83 9 92 39 Acquaintance ................. 37 9 46 20 Relative ...................... 20 7 27 12 Date ......................... 16 8 24 10 Person in authority ........... 13 6 19 8 Friend ....................... 10 5 15 6 Co-xworker ................... 6 1 7 3 Spouse ....................... 2 3 5 2 Total ...................... 187 48 235 100 This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment .04, and .03). Highest-risk women appear to be extension division stu- dents and graduate students, but in general the number of women re- porting at least one sexual assault seems to be proportionately equal through all status groups. Among the men who reported being sexually assaulted at least once, 42 percent are main campus undergraduates (who constitute 56 percent of the male respondents). The high-risk men are found among the professionals/administrators and faculty; they constitute 11 percent and 32 percent, respectively, of the men who reported at least one sexual assault, although they are only 7 percent and 14 percent of the re- spondent group. Male extension division undergraduates constitute 5 percent of the assault-reporting group and 4 percent of the re- spondents; male graduate students are 11 percent of the assault- reporting group and 17 percent of the respondents; and staff and other male workers, who are 2 percent of the respondents, reported no as- saults. Location of the assaults varied widely, but the largest number (35 percent) took place in the residence of the victim or of some other person. No one location appears to be clearly more risky-or safe-than another. Assaulted persons report having been molested by strangers 39 percent of the time and by someone known to them 61 percent of the time; the latter category includes relatives (12 percent), dates (10 per- cent), persons in authority (8 percent), and others listed in table 4. Victims of sexual assault were asked to identify the persons to whom they had talked about the experience. We received answers about 153 incidents: 16 percent were discussed with no one; 43 percent were dis- cussed with a friend or roommate; 1 percent with a lawyer; 3 percent with a physician; 29 percent with a parent, relative, or spouse; and 5 percent with some other person. Only 3 percent of these incidents were reported to the police. If this figure is representative of other groups of people (and there is little reason to think that it is not), police figures on the incidence of alleged assault must be even more spuriously low than we have assumed. Comparison with otherfindings.-We found that one out of eight re- spondents (13 percent) personally knew at least one person who had been sexually assaulted on the university campus, and that 97 percent of these known victims were women. A 1979 survey of 470 resident women undergraduates at the Amherst campus of the University of Mas- sachusetts reported that 28 percent knew at least one student who had been sexually assaulted on campus.5 The definition of sexual assault presented to the Massachusetts respondents-which was narrower than the one we used-was "sexual intrusion on oneself without consent by 5. Everywoman's Center, "Results of Sexual Violence Survey," mimeographed (Amherst: University of Massachusetts, 1980). 306 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 307 force, deception, or threat of violence." With respect to personal experi- ence of sexual assault on campus, 4 percent of the women surveyed at the University of Massachusetts-compared with 8.7 percent of our main campus undergraduate women-cited such incidents. Figures from the two studies concerning personal experience of sexual assault outside the university are very close. Among the Univer- sity of Massachusetts respondents, 25 percent reported at least one such experience; among our wider group of respondents, 29.4 percent of the women (and 5.3 percent of the men) reported having been sexually assaulted at least once in their lives outside the university. Although they may differ in definitions of key terms, other studies confirm the general reliability of these figures for contemporary Ameri- can women. The conclusion is inescapable that sexual assault is not a rare occurrence and will be experienced at least once by perhaps 25 percent of all women. Our data, the findings obtained in the University of Mas- sachusetts study, and other reports cited in general reviews of the literature-such as those by Susan Brownmiller and by Sedelle Katz and Mary Ann Mazur-all suggest this conclusion.6 Following a recent analysis of data from national surveys, Allan G. Johnson has estimated "lifelong rape probabilities" from reports of completed and alleged rapes, "a combined category that many statutes now call sexual assault." His most "conservative estimate is that, under current conditions, 20-30 percent of girls now twelve years old will suffer a violent sexual attack during the remainder of their lives." He points out that this estimate excludes assaults on children under twelve, and he concludes that "the average American woman is just as likely to suffer a sexual attack as she is to be diagnosed as having cancer, or to experience a divorce."7 Other points of comparison between the University of Mas- sachusetts study and ours concern the percentage of assaulters who are strangers to the victim and the percentage of assaults reported to the police (and to other persons in general). The Massachusetts researchers reported that 57 percent of the on-campus assailants were strangers, a category that may have included minimal acquaintances. Counting only assailants unknown to the victim, we found that strangers committed 31 percent of campus assaults and 39 percent of the assaults experienced by respondents outside the university. The "relationship between the rape victim and offender has been the subject of much concern in rape research," as Joan McDermott has noted. She cites a variety of studies of police figures (i.e., incidences as reported by victims) and surveys of general populations ("victimization 6. Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will: Men, 'Women and Rape (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1975); Sedelle Katz and Mary Ann Mazur, Understanding the Rape Victim: A Synthesis of Research Findings (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1979). 7. Allan Griswold Johnson, "On the Prevalence of Rape in the United States," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 6, no. 1 (Autumn 1980): 136-46, esp. 145-46. Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment studies") that have found stranger rapes to vary in frequency from 42 percent to 82 percent. Definitions of a stranger vary in these studies, sometimes including "pick-ups" or casual acquaintances. Among studies cited by Katz and Mazur in their review of the research literature, re- ports of rape by a stranger vary from 27 percent to 91 percent depend- ing on such factors as age of the victims, definitions of "stranger," and the source of the assault data (officially reported or unreported in- cidents). Findings, in general, suggest that rape by a stranger is more likely to be reported both to the police and to survey interviewers than is sexual assault by a nonstranger-a relative, date, or acquaintance.8 Con- sequently, although sexual assault by a known assailant tends to be underestimated, our data, and the findings of others, suggest that this type of assault may be the most prevalent. Four percent of our respondents who had been sexually assaulted on campus told no one about their assaults and only 7 percent filed police reports. The figures are even more extreme and disturbing for assaults that occurred outside the university; only 3 percent of these incidents were reported to the police. The data from the University of Massachusetts survey are more encouraging than ours but still indicate an extremely small report rate. While 43 percent of the University of Massachusetts victims told a friend or relative, 29 percent told no one, and only 13 percent told the police. Clearly the gap between official police figures on the frequency of sexual assault and the reality of wom- en's experience is very wide. Sexual Intimidation and Sexual Insult Personal knowledge or experience of intimidation at the university. We defined sexual intimidation as "a threat or bribe by a person in a position of authority to coerce sexual contact" and provided examples of such threats and bribes. Respondents cited personal knowledge of sixty-eight such cases; 93 percent involved a female target of intimidation and 94 percent a male intimidator. Main campus undergraduates cited the largest number of incidents of intimidation of others; 58 percent of the threats or bribes had to do with grades or examinations, and an addi- tional 16 percent were job-related. Teachers were cited as the in- timidators in 53 percent of the cases, graduate assistants in 8 percent, staff memnbers or administrators in 6 percent, employers in 14 percent, and students in 14 peicent. Only twelve incidents of sexual intimidation were personally ex- perienced by eleven different respondents (nine vwomen or 1.6 percent of the female respondents, and two men or .5 percent). Grades were 8. M. Joan NMcDermllott, Rape V'ictimlizationt it 26 American Cities, U.S. Department of Justice, Crimlinal Justice Research Center, Report no. SD-VAD-6 (Washington, D.C.: Gov- ernment Printing Office, 1979), p. 51; Katz and Mazur. 308 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 309 involved in three of the cases and job benefits in two. Five persons named teachers as intimidators, and three others named students. Personal experience as an intimidator, potential recipient, or offerer of sex- ualfavors.-Only four women and three men admitted to having sexu- ally intimidated someone at the university, while fourteen women and eleven men said that they had done so elsewhere outside the university. Two questions asked how often respondents in positions of author- ity had been offered sexual contact or sexual favors in exchange for some job-related or school-related benefit that they could provide. The first question was specific to the university. Of the sixty-two women who said they held a position of authority, fifty-eight (94 percent) reported no offers of sexual contact, and four (6 percent) reported rare offers. Of 107 comparable men, ninety-four (88 percent) reported no offers of sexual contact, and thirteen (12 percent) reported offers that occurred rarely to very often. The difference between the reported experiences of men and women on this dimension is not statistically reliable. In judging their potential to receive offers of sexual favors outside the campus, 239 women and 241 men judged themselves to be in positions of authority. Of these women, fifteen (6 percent) said they received offers of sexual contact very often, often, or occasionally; twenty (8 percent) said they received them rarely; and the remaining 86 percent said they never received them. Of the men, seven (3 percent) said they received sexual offers very often, often, or occasionally; thirty-one (13 percent) said they received them rarely; and 84 percent said never. The women and men do not differ significantly in the pattern of these reported experiences. Only four women and ten men said that they had ever "offered sexual contact or sexual favors in exchange for a job-related or school- related benefit" at the university, while fourteen women and thirteen men said that they had done so outside the university. Sexual insult.-We asked several questions about sexual insult, defined as an "uninvited sexually suggestive, obscene or offensive re- mark, stare, or gesture." In estimating the frequency with which men receive sexual insults on campus, most respondents (52 percent) believed that this occurs rarely or never. However, 37 percent of the women and 41 percent of the men believed that this occurs occasionally, and 9 per- cent of the women and 10 percent of the men that this occurs often or very often. There is no reliable difference between the very similar re- sponses of women and men with respect to this issue. When respondents were asked to judge the frequency with which women are sexually insulted on campus, the results are quite different, and women and men are found to make reliably different judgments (X2 = 24.02, df = 3, p < .001). Proportionately more women than men believe that women are often or very often sexually insulted at the uni- versity (57 percent vs. 44 percent), while proportionately fewer women than men believe that women are only occasionally insulted (36 percent Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment vs. 45 percent) or rarely or never insulted (7 percent vs. 11 percent). It is of considerable interest that the perception of women and men differs with respect to women as targets of verbal harassment, whereas it is similar with respect to men. Respondents were also asked about their own personal encounters at the university, as well as outside of it. Not surprisingly, women's re- ported experiences were reliably different from men's. Only 30 percent of the women reported that they had never been sexually insulted by a man on campus, 29 percent reported rare insult, 27 percent reported being insulted occasionally, and 13 percent reported being insulted often or very often. In contrast, 82 percent of the men reported that they had never been sexually insulted by another man, and 17 percent reported occasional or rare insult. No men reported frequent insult (i.e., often or very often). This difference in frequency of insult by men is statistically significant (X2 = 244.63, df = 3, p < .001). Outside the uni- versity, few women (10 percent) reported that they had never been sexually insulted by a man, and the majority of the female respondents (57 percent) reported receiving such insults very often, often, or occa- sionally. Among the male respondents, 30 percent reported that sexual insults from a man outside the university were rare, and 61 percent reported never encountering them. This difference between women and men is also a statistically reliable one (X2 = 320.23, df = 3, p < .001). We also asked questions about personal encounters with sexual in- sult from women and found that women are seldom sexually insulting to either men or to other women. However, the frequency with which this behavior occurs differs reliably, as reported by women and men. Only 10 percent of the women, but 35 percent of the men, reported that they had been sexually insulted by a woman on campus, but this was generally designated as a rare experience (X2 = 89.42, df = 2, p < .001). Outside the university, 76 percent of the women reported that they had never been sexually insulted by another woman, and 21 percent re- ported rarely being insulted. Among the men, 12 percent reported being insulted by a woman occasionally or more often, 40 percent rarely, and 48 percent never (X2 = 75.44, df = 2, p < .001). Comparison with otherfindings.-Other studies typically treat sexual harassment as a very general category, which may include such behav- iors as physical touching, insulting verbalizations, looks, and gestures. Thus, for example, Donna Benson and Gregg Thomson's survey of senior women at Berkeley defined sexual harassment broadly as "any unwanted sexual leers, suggestions, comments, or physical contact which you find objectionable."9 The Berkeley investigators adapted this defini- 9. Donna J. Benson and Gregg Thomson, "Sexual Harassmlent on a University Cam- pus: The Confluence of Authority Relations, Sexual Interest and Gender St-atification," mimeographed (Berkeley: Univelsity of Califolnia, Department of Afr-o-American Studies, 1980). 310 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 311 tion from an integrative analysis of sexually harassing behaviors pro- vided by the Working Women United Institute. However, we treated insult as a separate category of behavior in our work and distinguished it from intimidation in the form of threats and bribes by persons in posi- tions of authority. Both categories were distinguished from sexual as- sault, defined as forced physical contact without consent. Benson and Thomson, using their inclusive definition of sexual harassment, found that 30 percent of their 269 randomly sampled re- spondents had experienced "unwanted and objectionable sexual behav- ior" by at least one male instructor either at Berkeley or at a school from which they had transferred. The Berkeley findings, while specifically related to undergraduate women and their experiences with faculty men, complement those from other studies in other settings.10 In con- trast, our study found that, by our definition, sexual intimidation was uncommon on campus. Although sixty-eight cases were reported in which someone known to the respondent had been intimidated (and in 93 percent of these, the person intimidated was a woman), only nine women and two men had experienced this form of harassment. These findings are actually very similar to those reported by Benson and Thomson, who cite only three cases of "sexual bribery" and note that "overt sexual bribery was rarely reported by our sample of university women." Most instances of unwanted sexual attention by male in- structors cited by the Berkeley senior women involved verbal advances, invitations, physical advances, body language, emotional come-ons, and undue attention-behaviors that, in our study, would be classified as sexual insults.1 Consequences of Sexual Harassment for Employment and Education We asked respondents how many times they had left a job "any- where, because of sexual threats, bribes, or insults." Only four of 370 men (1 percent), but forty-eight out of 534 women (9 percent), reported doing so at least once. Thus, one out of every eleven female respondents had severed employment or been forced to leave a job because of sexual harassment from an employer or other employee. Very few respon- dents-five women and two men-reported dropping a course for this reason. Attitudes toward Sexually Harassing Behavior Among the most striking of our findings, we believe, is the demon- stration that women and men differ substantially in their perceptions 10. Lin Farley, Sexual Shakedown (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1978); Project on the Status and Education of Women, Sexual Harassment: A Hidden Issue (Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges, June 1978). 11. Benson and Thomson. Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment and attitudes regarding acceptable sexually inviting behavior and in their perceptions of each other as sexual objects. First of all, this conclu- sion is indirectly supported by the fact that women, and particularly the younger women, returned their questionnaires at a significantly greater rate than men. One can assume that this indicates greater interest in, and concern with, the subject under study. Proportionately more women than men, in addition, volunteered for a personal interview. When asked to speculate about whether there were "any circum- stances" under which they might commit sexual assault if assured of no report or punishment, 12 percent of the 359 men who responded to this question said yes (answering "many," "some," "few," or "perhaps"). Only 2 percent of the 507 female respondents agreed. This difference is a statistically reliable one (X2 = 40.15, df = 2, p < .001).12 In a study at the University of California, Los Angeles, Neil M. Malamuth, Scott Haber, and Seymour Feshbach found an even larger percentage of undergraduate men who could imagine themselves as rapists, in re- sponse to a somewhat differently phrased question.13 We assessed attitudes toward sexual harassment by analyzing re- sponses to eleven statements (presented at the end of the survey) that dealt with sexually related behavior on the job or at school. Respondents were asked to indicate the extent of agreement with each item on a five-point scale (ranging from 1 = strongly agree, to 5 = strongly dis- agree). The mean responses to each statement made by women and men, which are shown in table 5, reveal that the two groups have di- vergent attitudes regarding behavior associated with sexual harassment. They differed significantly in the extent to which they agreed with each of the eleven statements. Although there was variation among women and men, their average responses were reliably different in every case. A glance at the statements and the mean scores of the women and men indicates that men consider sexually related behavior on the job and at school more natural, more to be expected, and less problematic and serious than do women. With the exception of item 5, these statements appear to indicate a general acceptance of sexual harassment and are tentatively presented as a ten-item Tolerance for Sexual Harassment Inventory.14 After recod- ing responses to statements 4 and 8 so that the tolerant or accepting response (disagreement) had a higher score than a nonaccepting re- sponse, we totaled the scores on the ten statements for each respondent and compared women and men. The mean score for 514 women (who 12. Respondents were also asked if they had ever actually assaulted another person. One woman out of 516 said yes (.2 percent), as did seven men out of 360 (2 percent). 13. Neil M. Malamuth, Scott Haber, and Seymour Feshbach, "Testing Hypotheses regarding Rape: Exposure to Sexual Violence, Sex Differences, and the 'Normality' of Rapists,"Journal of Research on Personality 14 (1980): 121-37. 14. Statistical refinement of this inventory relevant to issues of reliability and validity is currently in progress. 312 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 313 Table 5 Mean Responses of the Women and Men to Statements Dealing with Sexually Harassing Behavior Mean Score* Woment Ment Statement 1. Most women who are sexually insulted by a man provoke his be- havior by the way they talk, act, or dress ...................... 2. An attractive woman has to expect sexual advances and should learn how to handle them ................................... 3. Most men are sexually teased by many of the women with whom they interact on the job or at school .......................... 4. A man must learn to understand that a woman's "no" to his sexual advances really means "no" ................................. 5. Uninvited sexual attention by men to women students or em- ployees helps to keep women in their place.................... 6. It is only natural for a woman to use her sexuality as a way of getting ahead in school or at work .................................. 7. An attractive man has to expect sexual advances and should learn how to handle them ......................................... 8. I believe that sexual intimidation is a serious social problem..... 9. It is only natural for a man to make sexual advances to a woman he finds attractive.............................................. 10. Innocent flirtations make the workday or school day interesting. 11. Encouraging a professor's or a supervisor's sexual interest is fre- quently used by women to get better grades or to improve their work situation .............................................. 3.59 3.18 3.69 1.59 4.66 4.55 3.30 2.22 3.41 2.92 3.04 2.58 3.37 2.11 4.43 4.10 2.76 2.59 2.73 2.57 3.63 3.28 *The lower the score, the greater the agreement with the statement. In each case the difference between the mean score of women and men is significant, p Sexual Assault and Harassment older (N = 20), mean = 37.05. Clearly there is a fairly steady progres- sion in decreased acceptance of sexual harassment as one moves from younger respondents (who are primarily students) to older respondents (who are primarily staff and faculty). The overall difference among age groups (analyzed by simple analysis of variance) is statistically reliable (p < .001). The average scores of persons in the various status groups on the Tolerance for Sexual Harassment Inventory indicate that, as the age data suggest, university status is reliably related to one's acceptance of sexual harassment (p < .001). The mean scores for our six status groups presented in table 6 verify that younger undergraduates are the most accepting, and administrators and faculty are the least accepting, of sexually harassing behavior as measured by agreement with verbal statements. Interview Findings Of the 927 persons who returned questionnaires, sixty-one volun- teered to be interviewed by sending their names and phone numbers to one of the investigators. The twenty-seven men were divided into two groups and the thirty-four women into three groups; names were then randomly assigned to one of five same-sex interviewers (a chaplain, an administrator, and three faculty members). We kept a record of the interviewee's name (the last name was subsequently deleted), sex, age, university status, and the date of the interview. Each open-ended interview began in much the same way; the volunteer was told that her or his interest in the investigation was ap- preciated and then was asked to comment further on the questions in the survey or on the general issue of sexual harassment. We completed interviews of approximately one hour with twenty-seven women- twenty undergraduates from the main campus and one from the exten- Table 6 Mean Scores on the Tolerance fo- Sexual Harassment Inventory by University Status Status N Mean Score* Main campus ....................... 531 33.81 Extension division undergraduates .... 61 35.70 Graduate students ................... 104 35.51 Clerical, technical, other staff......... 51 35.45 Professional, administrators .......... 43 36.00 Faculty ............................. 65 36.78 Total ............................. 855 *The lower the score, the greatet the agreement with the statements. 314 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 315 sion division, two graduate students, three faculty members, and one professional staff person. They ranged in age from eighteen to fifty-two, with the median age being twenty-one.15 Nine women-or 33 percent of those interviewed-reported expe- riencing at least one sexual assault at some time during their lives. This percentage is only slightly higher than, and quite consistent with, the 29.4 percent of women who reported such assaults in the survey. Only one of these assaults was reported to the police. These incidents of forced sexual contact without consent, all by men, were reported to have been perpetrated by two strangers in a parking lot, a brother-in-law, a stranger who broke into an apartment, a family dentist, a great-grand- father, a stranger in a parking lot outside a pub, an employer, a boy- next-door, and a friend's friend. Interviewees also talked about assault and intimidation experienced by their female friends, roommates, or acquaintances. These tended to be specific to the university and included a threat of poor grades by one instructor, a promise of a good recommendation by an adviser, un- welcome physical contact by an "overattentive" equipment attendant, an attack on a woman driver by two men in another car who forced her off the road after a student party, a classroom insult by a teacher whose advances were rejected, a physical assault outside a campus building by a stranger, a physical attack on a student returning to her sorority on campus, an assault by two drunken students who came into an unlocked dorm room and wanted to "fool around" with the sleeping occupant, an assault of a woman by her "date" who did not accept her "no," an offer by a graduate assistant of an "A" without the final examination, and amorous behavior toward a student by her professor. In every instance the assaulter or intimidator was male. Most of these cases were not re- ported to anyone in a position of authority; those that were did not result, in the opinion of the interviewees, in satisfactory solutions or punishment of the assaulter or intimidator. Most interviewees believed that this problem occurred on campus to about the same extent as in American society generally, which, in their view, was considerable. Ten of the women, however, maintained that there was little sexual harassment on the campus and that publicized reports of alleged assault had been "blown out of proportion"; in their opinion, such matters were "not that much of a problem." However, as the interviews progressed, it became clear that the majority shared the general view that women must expect to be sexually approached, teased, or insulted. The undergraduate women, especially, voiced over and over again the view that such behavior by men is the "way things are." One 15. Of the thirty-four women who said that they were willing to be interviewed, three could not arrange a convenient time; two did not keep their appointments; and two said, when contacted by phone, that they had "nothing more to add" to their survey responses. Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment junior said, "It's part of being a woman; I don't like it, but that's the way it is-with most men, anyway.... I don't stop to think about it." A sophomore said, "You become used to it. ... [Most women just] learn how to handle the situation.... It's not fair but it's reality." Some felt that women who mistake sexist remarks and harassment for flattery contribute to the problem. Many described drinking as an important antecedent to sexual assault; women who get drunk at campus parties were repeatedly described as easy prey or targets. "Drinking or pot is always involved," according to one sophomore. If a woman does not leave some parties (particularly fraternity parties) by a certain time, it is assumed that she has acceded to "spending the night" and having sexual relations. Interviewers heard many descriptions of the aftermath: the young woman wakes up guilty and disturbed, uncertain of what happened, but convinced that, although she did not want the sex, she was somehow to blame. Several of the young women believed that, if a woman was assaulted while drunk, "it was probably her fault" and she "deserved it." "Girls get loosened up" at parties, said one student, and "guys take this as 'starting something' and get turned on." Refusing a man's sexual advances after consuming the liquor he has provided at a party leads to insults, anger, and questions like "Why'd you come?" Many young women, the interviewers wxere told, want to avoid embarrassment and anger-and the man's feeling of rejection when he is "turned down." One student said, "I'd blame myself if I got into a vulnerable situation at a party. I wouldn't report it unless it was a stranger." One senior de- scribed the situation as she sees it: "Man is the prowler and woman is the defender and the prey." "Girls who tease," said another student, "de- serve to be raped." Many women commented on their coping strategies, how they deal with the sexual innuendos, insults, bribes, and threats that most of the younger women accept as "part of life." They see, and accept, that the responsibility for avoiding assault is primarily the woman's. She can avoid going to parties (especially at fraternities); refuse to take harass- ment seriously, that is, "ignore it"; "laugh off' remarks; learn not to tease and "not to go to a guy's room unless [expecting] to spend the night and have sex"; "turn an insult into flattery"; accept it. Primarily, the women said they must learn how "to handle themselves" in situations with men and to "deal with" men's assumptions and expectations. A woman was responsible for avoiding trouble. Older women tended to describe more assertive and direct tech- niques for handling sexual put-dowvns, insults, and assumptions: con- front the insulter; respond with nastiness or anger; leave jobs in which one is harassed; do not interpret sexist commnents or uninvited sexual advances as flattery; and report offenders to persons in authority. 316 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Winter 1982 317 Women frequently mentioned the recent assault trials involving students. The dominant (but not unanimous) attitude among those who commented-particularly the students-was greater sympathy for the male defendants than for the female plaintiffs. A second common feel- ing was that the trials and the acquittals would certainly reduce the tendency to report assaults, to bring charges, and to prosecute. Finally, a number of the women interviewed suggested solutions to the problem of sexual harassment on campus. These included educa- tional efforts, such as specific courses or special workshops for students and staff; orientation sessions for new students; clear, well-publicized, and efficient procedures regarding what to do if intimidated, bribed, or assaulted; better campus lighting; a more responsive campus police force; and more consistent and serious security measures, including night managers on duty in all dornms. Interviews were also conducted with ten men,16 who differed as a group in status and age from the women interviewees. Only two were undergraduates; the others were two graduate students, three adminis- trators or staff persons, and three faculty. Ages ranged from twenty to fifty-three, with the median age being 41.5. The men also wished to discuss different kinds of issues with the interviewers. For example, whereas only a fewv women mentioned the questionnaire (and those wvho did said it was a good one or thought provoking), seven of the ten men talked about it, two saying that the survey was very good, and five offering general or specific criticisms. One faculty member felt the survey was a "bit one-sided" and did not sufficiently explore women's enticement of men. An administrator called the questionnaire "biased" because it assumed that men are aggressors and that women use their sex appeal. Three men specifically criticized the attitude questions, which were called ambiguous and answerable in more than one way. One staff member was especially displeased with what he called the "loaded" question in which respondents were asked if there were any circumstances under which they might sexually assault someone if they were assured of no report and no punishment. In con- trast, none of the twenty-seven women interviewed offered criticisms of the survey. Like some of the women interviewees, some of the men believed that the issue of sexual harassment on campus had been exaggerated, and one administrator felt that this might have the adverse effect of causing people "to inhibit their natural inclinations." One under- graduate believed that a few isolated cases had been blown out of pro- 16. Of the twenty-seven men xn ho volunteered to be interviewed, seven indicated, wshen contacted, that they had nothing more to add to their survey responses or were no longer interested; eight could not be contacted (phone disconnected, did not return mes- sage, etc.); and two did not show up for their appointments. Signs This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Sexual Assault and Harassment portion by reporters and that our university is "no different than other places"; if anything happened at a prestigious private university in the state, he said, "it would be hushed up." None of the men reported personal experiences of harassment or assault, and only one mentioned incidents that had occurred with friends or acquaintances. A graduate student talked about his reactions to hearing women demeaned in his presence. It's "hard to take," he said, "but I just try to ignore it. It's usually presented as a joke, but I think it goes too far." No one mentioned specific cases in which they or others had been offered sexual favors in exchange for some benefit they could provide. The men's comments were by and large either related to questionnaire items or to the issue of sexual harassment in general. For example: many women invite sexual comments; we must not let minor, socially obnoxious acts divert attention from the more important, sepa- rate category of violent criminal acts; the issue of sexual harassment is definitely wvorthy of study; there is too much vandalism, immorality, and foul language on campus; nobody should be hassled sexually or be led on; both sides must be considered; "some of the girls [who have been sexually assaulted] are real sleazes"; respect for others is the main issue; and most people who are not attuned to this subject do not see "whis- tling, ogling, and cat calls as harassment" but as acceptable and non- serious behavior. The few mIen who said that harassment was a serious problem in our society generally and at the university in particular made the following suggestions: the target of harassment or those who observe it should tell the offender directly that this behavior is offensive, because social means are better than legal means for handling noncriminal behavior; and education and discussion should be used to raise people's consciousness so that they will come to understand the meaning and pervasiveness of sexism. In summ-ary, the interviews revealed that younger women in par- ticular have accepted the idea that prowling men are a "fact of life." Although we found that women are less tolerant than men of sexually assuming or demanding behaviors, those to whom we spoke told us that women must take the responsibility to avoid insult and assault, that men's behavior is not likely to change, and that men are easily aroused sexually and expect satisfaction. The women we interviewed tended to blame themselves (and other women) for getting into vulnerable situa- tions. They would prefer that things were different, they said, but they had learned too well that being treated as sexual objects was simply "part of life." The older women were less accepting and more insistent on challenging the "way things are." We hope that the inform-ation provided by our survey and inter- views will further sensible and humane strategies for improving the 318 Lott et al. This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Signs Winter 1982 319 quality of relationships between women and men on campuses, in work- places, and in communities across the country. This effort will require a serious commitment to new programs, guidelines, and procedures based on the recognition that "the way things are" exploits and demeans women and exposes them to the potential danger of assault. Department of Psychology and Women's Studies University of Rhode Island (Lott) Department of Sociology/Anthropology and Women's Studies University of Rhode Island (Reilly) Department of Psychology and Women's Studies University of Rhode Island (Howard) This content downloaded from 188.72.126.118 on Wed, 18 Jun 2014 22:21:56 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp Article Contents p. 296 p. 297 p. 298 p. 299 p. 300 p. 301 p. 302 p. 303 p. 304 p. 305 p. 306 p. 307 p. 308 p. 309 p. 310 p. 311 p. 312 p. 313 p. 314 p. 315 p. 316 p. 317 p. 318 p. 319 Issue Table of Contents Signs, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Winter, 1982), pp. 193-396 Front Matter Editorial [pp. 193-194] Lighting the Cave: The Relationship between Vita Sackville-West and Virginia Woolf [pp. 195-214] Working-Class and Peasant Women in the Russian Revolution, 1917-1923 [pp. 215-235] Review Essays Anthropology [pp. 236-258] Mexican-American Women in the Social Sciences [pp. 259-272] Women and Work: Issues of the 1980s [pp. 273-295] Revisions/Reports Sexual Assault and Harassment: A Campus Community Case Study [pp. 296-319] Sexual Harassment in the University: Guidelines for Establishing a Grievance Procedure [pp. 320-336] Changing Attitudes toward Work and Marriage: Turkey in Transition [pp. 337-351] Book Reviews Review: untitled [pp. 352-354] Review: untitled [pp. 354-356] Review: untitled [pp. 357-358] Review: untitled [pp. 358-361] Review: untitled [pp. 361-363] Review: untitled [pp. 363-367] Review: untitled [pp. 367-372] Review: untitled [pp. 372-376] United States Notes [pp. 377-378] International Notes [pp. 379-380] Letters/Comments Response to Comments on "A Feminist View of Copenhagen" [pp. 381-382] Comment on Lawson and Barton's "Sex Roles in Social Movements: A Case Study of the Tenant Movement in New York City" [pp. 382-386] Reply to Christiansen-Ruffman [pp. 386-387] Comment on Jones and Lovejoy's "Discrimination against Women Academics in Australian Universities" [pp. 387-390] Reply to Over [pp. 390-391] Back Matter [pp. 392-396]

Recommended

View more >