Same sex sexual harassment : perceptions of female-female sexual harassment

Document Type



Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor's Name

Ryan Winter

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Stephen Charman

Third Advisor's Name

Nadja Schreiber

Date of Defense



This study investigated how mock jurors perceive female-female sexual harassment. Participants read a case vignette depicting female-female sexual harassment where the sexual orientation of the harasser (lesbian vs. straight) and type of sexual harassment (approach vs. reject vs. generalized) were counterbalanced across participants. Participants were asked to make a liability determination for the case. They were also asked to rate the unwanted conduct on several legally relevant dimensions (e.g., severity, pervasiveness, unwelcomeness). Results show that sexual orientation of the harasser is the most important factor used to determine liability, with participants finding more liability when the harasser was lesbian than when the harasser was straight. Participants similarly found the same conduct to be more severe, pervasive, unwelcome, and threatening when the harasser was lesbian than when she was straight. As expected, female participants found more evidence of discrimination than male participants. These findings illustrate biases mock jurors may hold when making legal decisions in female-female sexual harassment cases.




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