Sexual harassment in academe is underreported


What factors predict the underreporting of sexual harassment in academe? We used logistic regression and sentiment analysis to examine 2,343 reports of sexual harassment involving members of university communities. Results indicate students were 1.6 times likely to not report their experiences when compared to faculty. Respondents in the life and physical sciences were 1.7 times more likely to not report their experiences when compared to respondents in other disciplines. Men represented 90% of the reported perpetrators of sexual harassment. Analysis of respondents’ written accounts show variation of overall sentiment based on discipline, student type, and the type of institution attended, particularly with regard to mental health. Our results suggest that institutional and departmental barriers driven by power asymmetries play a large role in the underreporting sexual harassment among students—especially those in STEM disciplines.


Aguilar, S.J., Baek, C. (2020). Sexual Harassment in Academe is Underreported, Especially by Students in the Physical Sciences. PLoS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230312