An exploration of sex differences in attitudes towards unwanted sexual behaviour in nightclubs
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Sexual harassment is a growing concern in today’s society and can be defined as “conduct as unwanted or unwelcome, and which has the purpose or effect of being intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive” Krebs et al, 2008; McDonald’s, 2012, p. 2). With an estimated 3.1% of women aged 16-59 experienced sexual assault in the last year (Onsgovuk, 2018). Young females, specifically college students are a target population of large interest within the psychological field, as college-aged women are particularly vulnerable to sexual assault (Sinozich & Langton, 2014). However, it appears that there are significant sex differences in perceptions and attitudes towards exual harassment; males are more likely to accept ‘rape myths’ and support unwanted sexual behaviour than are females (Acock and Ireland, 1983). This study aimed to explore the present gender differences in undergraduate’s attitudes towards unwanted sexual behaviours in nightclubs. The study adopted a between subjects design, using a quantitative online questionnaire. The sample consisted of 56 undergraduate male and females, with ages ranging from 18-24. All participants completed an annotated version of the IRMA (Payne, Lonsway, & Fitzgerald, 1999; McMahon and Farmer, 2011) which amid to measure attitudes towards unwanted sexual behaviour in nightclubs. The results illustrated that there are significant gender differences, with males accepting more unwanted sexual behaviour mythology than females. Therefore the current research hypothesis was supported. This is a new finding as past research has failed to explore undergraduate’s attitudes towards unwanted sexual behaviour in nightclubs. In summary future research should consider generating a questionnaire which is more relevant to this topic, with new measures undergoing pilot testing to test the validity.
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