Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Discussing atypical sexual harassment as a controversial issue in bystander programmes: One UK campus study

Bovill, Helen; Waller, Richard; McCartan, Kieran



This research emanates from an anti-sexual violence bystander programme delivered at an English university. Fifteen students were identified through purposive and convenience sampling to take part in focus groups. Discussions emerged regarding atypical sexual harassment. There is a gap in the literature exploring sexual harassment outside of the male perpetrator and female victim narrative which this paper contributes to. This paper considers four conversational themes: ‘unwanted touching: women to men’, ‘sexual banter: women to men’, ‘sexual stereotypes: women and men’, and ‘developing stronger ethical subjectivity’. This paper recognises most sexual harassment occurs from men to women, and acknowledges criticism of focussing otherwise when resources are limited, noting this risks obscuring the enduring power differentials between the sexes. It contends that exploring a controversial issue, such as male experience of sexual harassment, might help bystander programmes by developing ethical subjectivity in undergraduate students. Exploring sexual behaviour as a spectrum may lead to counter hegemonic discourses to emerge.


Bovill, H., Waller, R., & McCartan, K. (2019). Discussing atypical sexual harassment as a controversial issue in bystander programmes: One UK campus study. Sexuality and Culture, 1-19.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 29, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 14, 2019
Publication Date Dec 14, 2019
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2019
Journal Sexuality and Culture
Print ISSN 1095-5143
Electronic ISSN 1936-4822
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 1-19
Keywords Ethical subjectivity, sexual spectrum, counter hegemony
Public URL


Discussing Atypical Sexual Harassment as a Controversial Issue in Bystander Programmes: One UK Campus Study (712 Kb)


Publisher Licence URL

Copyright Statement
© The Author(s) 2019
Open Access
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit

You might also like

Downloadable Citations