A study on a narrative investigation into personal experiences of sexually harassed students at the University of Zululand
Author(s)Nene, Mfundo Sithenjwa Sibusiso
Sexual harassment --psychological and physical effects
Sexual harassment --causes and perpetuating factors
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AbstractThe present study examined the experiences of sexual harassment from those who were survivors of sexual harassment. The study consisted of two main objectives. The first objective was to ascertain the type of psychological and physical effects of sexual harassment. The second objective was to examine the possible causes or/and perpetuating factors of sexual harassment. The study revealed that all the respondents experienced stress related symptoms as the main effect of sexual harassment. It was found that: 40% of the respondents experienced discomfort, confusion, and feeling unsafe; 60% experienced disorientation and were obsessive; 60% experienced nervousness; 55% experienced depression or some symptoms of depression; 30% responded with avoidance behavior and 40% became introverted. In summary, respondents experienced emotional consequences, such as anger, self blame, low self esteem, and lack of trust. Cognitive consequences included lack of concentration while behavioral consequences included impulsive behavior. Lastly, the study revealed that power (55%), disrespect for human dignity (10%), and poverty (25%) are the main causes or perpetuating factors of sexual harassment at the University of Zululand. The general consensus in literature is that sexual harassment has been recognized as a serious problem in the literature over the 30 years (Pina, Gannon and Saunders, 2009; Hill and Silva, 2005; Nethling, 2005; Karjane, Fisher and Cullen, 2002). In this study, the researcher review the existing research surrounding the phenomenon of sexual harassment, paying particular attention to factors of relevance for understanding the effects of sexual harassment and the causes/perpetuating factors. The different theoretical perspectives and models of sexual harassment (sociocultural, organization, sex-role spillover, natural/biological, socio-cognitive, and four-factor) are also considered. Finally, several suggestions are made for future research and treatment avenues relating to the sexual harassment in institutions of higher learning.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts (Counselling Psychology) in the Department of Psychology, University of Zululand, 2010.