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Gender-based Stranger Harassment and Fear of Sexual Assault: A Descriptive Study
  • Hayley L. Hayes, Concordia University - Portland
The purpose of this study is to explore the nature of gender based stranger harassment among women. More specifically, the relationship between stranger harassment and fear of sexual assault will be examined closely. A review of literature regarding stranger harassment indicators, fear of sexual assault, negative consequences of stranger harassment, objectification theory, and existing interventions is included. The researcher utilized descriptive content analysis as well as first and second cycle coding to disseminate information gathered in qualitative, open-ended interviews with female-identified participants from Portland, Oregon regarding their experiences of gender based stranger harassment in order to build a typical case. Results indicated that overall, there was not a strong relationship between participants’ experience of stranger harassment and their immediate consequent increase in fear of being sexually assaulted. However, it was found that almost every participant prepared for harassment experiences more than anticipated while also indicating that their fear of sexual assault existed on a larger, more overarching scale. The research illustrates a typical case of the female experience during stranger harassment. This typical case demonstrates that participants’ living in a constant state of awareness that they can be sexually assaulted was associated with their mental preparation prior to entering spaces that would allow them to be harassed by strangers. 
  • street harassment,
  • fear of sexual assault,
  • first cycle coding,
  • second cycle coding,
  • women
Publication Date
Summer 2017
Master of Arts
Field of study
Community Psychology
Reed M. Mueller, Ph.D.
Citation Information
Hayley L. Hayes. "Gender-based Stranger Harassment and Fear of Sexual Assault: A Descriptive Study" (2017)
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