A Qualitative Analysis of Men’s Intended Bystander Behaviors in Response to a Sexual Assault Vignette
Date of Graduation
Bachelor of Science
Health, Human Performance and Recreation
Committee Member/Second Reader
Sexual assault is a pervasive problem; there are myriad negative consequences associated with sexual assault victimization. Given the commonality and consequences associated with victimization, preventing sexual assault is paramount. One mechanism thought to reduce rates of sexual assault is bystander intervention, in which third parties are encouraged to intervene when witnessing sexual assault risk factors and to challenge cultural norms regarding rape and assault. Despite the benefits of bystanding, not everyone intervenes. Previous research indicates that compared with women, men are less likely to intervene. Although some men intervene, researchers’ understanding of how men bystand is limited. The goal of this study was to assess the behaviors men use to bystand. A national sample of adult men (N = 1477, Mage = 24.67, SD = 4.60) were recruited via Qualtrics Survey Company. Participants responded to an open-ended question after reading a vignette involving a friend using sexual coercion to obtain sex. Men were asked how they would respond to their friend’s story. From the 1477 responses, a subsample of participants (N = 634, Mage = 24.88, SD = 5.24) was analyzed. From this sub-sample, nearly 65% of men reported some type of intervention behavior (n = 409). Of those that did report intervention behavior, 30.3% (n = 124) reported they would engage in “exaggerated intervention strategies,” 54.5% (n = 223) reported “direct intervention strategies,” 22.2% (n = 91) reported “indirect intervention strategies,” and 13.4% (n = 55) reported a clarifying behavior. Social desirability and socially-learned aggression may explain the exaggerated responses. Direct responses to the vignette may be due to social media exposure and sexual assault prevention initiative (SAPI) exposure. Indirect responses may be more realistic due to social circles and peer norms. These findings are relevant to SA prevention and should be incorporated into existing and future BIP.
sexual assault, bystanding, intervention
Day, E. (2019). A Qualitative Analysis of Men’s Intended Bystander Behaviors in Response to a Sexual Assault Vignette. Health, Human Performance and Recreation Undergraduate Honors Theses Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/hhpruht/74