U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Gender and Power Issues of Peer Sexual Harassment Among Teenagers

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 14 Issue: 6 Dated: June 1999 Pages: 626-641
Susan Fineran; Larry Bennett
Date Published
16 pages
This article presents the methodology and findings of a study that examined the roles of gender, power, and relationship in peer sexual harassment for 342 urban high school students.
"Sexual harassment" is defined to include "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature by another student, a school employee, or by a third party that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from an education program or activity, or to create a hostile or abusive educational environment." A nonprobability sample of 342 students in a large, midwestern, urban high school completed a voluntary survey during a required English class. The study measured peer sexual harassment; power (culturally based power derived from beliefs about the dominance of men and personal power experienced as confidence in one's ability to wield influence); and the relationship between perpetrator and victim. Overall, 87 percent of girls and 79 percent of boys reported experiencing peer sexual harassment; and 77 percent of girls and 72 percent of boys reported sexually harassing their peers during the school year. Girls experienced the more overtly sexual forms of harassment more often than boys, and boys perpetrated sexual harassing behaviors more often than girls. Hypotheses of a relationship between power, gender, and the perpetration of peer sexual harassment are supported. 2 tables, 2 figures, and 45 references


No download available