Sexual harassment mythology: Definition, conceptualization, and measurement

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.
Author: 
Lonsway,Kimberly A.
Cortina,Lilia M.
Magley,Vicki J.
Notes: 
IS
Reprint Status: 
NOT IN FILE
Start Page: 
599
End Page: 
615
Journal/Periodical Name: 
Sex Roles
Volume: 
58
Abstract: 
The purpose was to develop a measure of sexual harassment myths and demonstrate its validity. The Illinois Sexual Harassment Myth Acceptance Scale was created by administering surveys that contained sexual harassment myth items, validity measures, and demographic questions. The final measure consisted of 20 myth items that represented 4 factors about sexual harassment beliefs; Fabrication/Exaggeration, Ulterior Motives, Natural Heterosexuality, and Women's Responsibility. ISHMA scales were correlated with sexism, traditional and hostile attitudes toward women, and rape myths. Results indicated parallels (justification and denial) and differences (beliefs surrounding deviancy of behavior) between cultural mythologies surrounding sexual harassment and rape. Individuals who participated in education about sexual harassment endorsed sexual harassment myths less than those who did not.
Topic Areas: 
harassment
Reference Type: 
JOUR
Reference ID: 
2591
Publication Date: 
2008/01