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Situating Sexual Harassment in the Broader Context of Interpersonal Violence: Research, Theory, and Policy Implications


Margaret Stockdale, Department of Psychology, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901–6502. Tel: 618 453-8331 [e-mail:].


Although sexual harassment has been discussed as a form of interpersonal violence, little research has systematically examined both the empirical and theoretical links between sexual harassment and interpersonal violence. We review survey research data that establishes sexual harassment as a form of revictimization from earlier instances of interpersonal violence, such as child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence as well as ways that sexual harassment and interpersonal violence can mutually co-occur, such as from dissolved workplace romances or as an escalation from one form of violence to another. Bronfrenbrenner's and Grauerholz's ecological frameworks for understanding interpersonal violence and revictimization from several levels of analysis are invoked to understand the many ways that sexual harassment and interpersonal violence are linked. We further discuss organizational theories of sexual harassment and Routine Activities Theory as frameworks for guiding research in these areas. The review pays particular attention to surveys of multiple forms of sexual victimization, including sexual harassment, documented by the U.S. Military as well as the Military's efforts to comprehensively address these problems.