Korean High School Student's Perceptions of Sexual Harassment: The Effects of Victim's Clothing, Behavior, and Respondent's Gender

  • Received : 2013.04.01
  • Accepted : 2013.05.17
  • Published : 2013.06.30


This study investigates Korean high school student's perception of sexual harassment and relative effects of victim's clothing, dating behavior and respondent's gender on perceptions of alleged sexual harassment cases. A quasi-experimental method was applied using a $2{\times}2{\times}2$ between-subjects factorial design that manipulated three variables (clothing exposure, dating behavior, and gender). Questionnaires were distributed to a convenience sample of 540 high school students and 530 questionnaires were used for the data analysis. The results indicate that the victim's clothing and dating behavior had a significant main effect on the responsibility for sexual harassment. The respondent put less responsibility on the assailant when the victim wore revealing clothing and when her dating behavior was provocative. The significant interaction effect between the respondents' gender and the victim's dating behavior indicated that when the victim's behavior was provocative, female respondents held more responsible to victim than male respondents did. The results also indicate that victim's clothing, dating behavior, and respondent's gender had significant main effect on the justification of sexual harassment. The respondents indicated that assailant's behavior is unjustifiable; however, when victim more revealing clothing, they indicated that the behavior is more justifiable.



  1. Abbey, A. (1982). Sex differences in attributions for friendly behavior: Do males misperceive females' friendliness? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 830-838.
  2. American Association of University Women (2001). Hostile hallways: Bullying, teasing, and sexual harassment in school. Washington: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.
  3. Blumberg, M. L., & Lester, D. (1991). High school and college students' attitudes toward rape. Adolescence, 26(103), 727-729.
  4. Blumernthal, J. (1998). The reasonable woman standard: A meta-analytic review of gender differences in perceptions of sexual harassment. Law and Human Behavior, 22(1), 33-57.
  5. Castellow, K. S., Wuensch, K. L., & Moore, C. H. (1990). Effects of physical attractiveness of plaintiff and defendant in sexual harassment judgments. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 16, 39-50.
  6. Chiodo, D., Wolfe, D. A., Crooks, C., Hughes, R., & Jaffe, P. (2009). Impact of sexual harassment victimization by peers on subsequent adolescent victimization and adjustment: A longitudinal study. Journal of Adolescent Health, 45, 246-252.
  7. Davis, T., & Lee, C. (1996). Sexual assault: Myths and stereotypes among Australian adolescents. Sex roles, 34(11/12), 787-803.
  8. EEOC (2011). "Sexual harassment." Retrieved October 20, 2011, from sexual_harassment.cfm
  9. Framework act on women's development (2011). Retrieved September 15, 2012 from http://www.
  10. Jacobson, M. B. (1981). Effects of victim's and defendant's physical attractiveness on subjects' judgments in a rape case. Sex Roles, 7, 247-255.
  11. Johnson, B. E., Kuck, D..L., & Schander, P. R. (1997). Rape myth acceptance and socio-demographic characteristics: A multidimensional analysis. Sex Roles, 36, 693-707.
  12. Johnson, J. B., Stockdale, M. S., & Saal, F. E. (1991). Persistence of men's misperception of friendly cues across a variety of interpersonal encounters. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15, 463-475.
  13. Johnson, K. K. P., & Lee, M. (1999). Effects of clothing and behavior on perceptions concerning an alleged date rape. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 28(3), 331-356.
  14. Johnson, K. K. P., & Workman, J. E. (1992). Clothing and Attributions Concerning Sexual Harassment. Home Economics Research Journal, 21(2), 160-172.
  15. Johnson, K. K. P., & Workman, J. E. (1994). Blaming the victim: Attributions concerning sexual harassment based on clothing, just-world belief, and sex of subject. Home Economics Research Journal, 22(4), 382-400.
  16. Grubba, A. R., & Harrowerb, J. (2009). Understanding attribution of blame in cases of rape: An analysis of participant gender, type of rape and perceived similarity to the victim. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, 15(1), 63-81.
  17. Gutek, B. A., Morasch, B., & Cohen, A. G. (1983). Interpreting social-sexual behavior in a work setting, Journal of Vocational Behavior, 22, 30-48.
  18. Kaiser, S. B. (1996). The social psychology of clothing: Symbolic Appearances in Context (2ndEd). NY: Fairchild Books.
  19. Kim, Y. H., Lee, H. Z., Jung, E. S., Kim, L. S., Moon, S. H., & Jung, I. K. (2001). A Study on Actual Conditions and Patterns of Sexual Harassment in the Korean Adolescents. The Journal of Korean Academic Society of Nursing Education, 17(2), 196-206.
  20. Kim, J. I., Sohn, Y. M., & Kim, H. C. (2006). The relationship of gender and sexual harassment to sexual harassment myths and sex role related attitudes. The Korean Journal of Woman Psychology, 11(3), 377-397.
  21. Kim, T. J. (2011, July 17). 'Slut Walk' protest held in Seoul. The Korea Times. Retrieved from Http://
  22. Koenig, S., & Ryan, J. (1986). Sex differences in levels of tolerance and attribution of blame for sexual harassment on a university campuses. Sex Roles, 15, 535-549.
  23. Lennon, T. L., Lennon, S. L., & Johnson, K. K. P. (1992-1993). Is clothing probative of attitude or intent? Implications for rape and sexual harassment cases. Law & Inequality, 11(2), 391-416.
  24. Lewis, L., & Johnson, K. K. P. (1989-1990). The effect of dress, cosmetics, sex of subject, and causal inference on attribution of victim responsibility. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 8, 22-29.
  25. Loredo, C., Reid, A., & Deaux, K. (1995). Judgments and definitions of sexual harassment by high school students. Sex Roles, 32(1/2), 29-45.
  26. Lott, B., Reilly, M. E., & Howard, D. (1982). Sexual assault and harassment: A campus community case study. Signs, 8, 296-319.
  27. Maynes, K. (2011), Korean perceptions of chastity, gender roles, and libido; From Kisaengs to the twenty first century. Grand Valley Journal of History. 1(1), Article 2. Retrieved March 3, 2013 from http://
  28. Park. K. J. (2011.9.9). Half the sexual assault among K-12 students occurs in middle school. Women News. Retrieved April 27, 2013 from www.womennews.
  29. Padgitt, S. C., & Padgitt, J. S. (1986). Cognitive structure of sexual harassment: Implications for university policy. Journal of College Student Personnel, 34, 682-689.
  30. Powell, G. N. (1986). Effects of sex role identity and sex on definitions of sexual harassment. Sex Roles, 23, 397-411.
  31. Raja, S. ( 2011, February 17). Rape Myths Persist-Reactions to the Assault on Lara Logan. Women's Media Center. Retrieved August 10, 2012, from
  32. Reilly, M. E., Lott, B., & Gallogly, S. M.(1986). Sexual harassment of university students. Sex Roles, 15, 333-358.
  33. Rotundo, M., Nguyen, D. H., & Sackett, P. R. (2001). A meta-analytic review of gender differences in perceptions of sexual harassment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 914-922.
  34. Rush, C. (2011, February 18). Cop apologizes for 'sluts' remark at law school. Toronto Star Newspapers. Retrieved October 20, 2011, from
  35. Saal, F. E., Johnson, C. B., & Weber, N. (1989). Friendly or sexy? It may depend on whom you ask. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 13, 263-276.
  36. Song, H. (2009). The status of gender policy in education in Korea. In E-Discussion: Gender-Overcoming Unequal Power, Unequal Voice Education and Gender Equity (pp85-86). Human Development Report Unit, UNDP Regional Center for Asia Pacific, Colombo Office. Colombo: Sri Lanka.
  37. Steinberg, L. (2008). Adolescence (8th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  38. Whatley, M. A. (1995). Victim characteristics influencing attributions of responsibility to rape victims: A meta-analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 1(2), 81-95.
  39. Weisz, M. G., & Earls, C. M. (1995). The effects of exposure to filmed sexual violence on attitudes toward rape. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 10(1), 71-84.
  40. Workman, J. E., & Johnson, K. K. P. (1991). The role of cosmetics in attributions about sexual harassment. Sex Roles, 11/12, 759-769.
  41. Workman, J. E., & Orr, R. L. (1996). Clothing, sex of subject, and rape myth acceptance as factors affecting attributions about an incident of acquaintance rape. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 14(4), 276-284.