Bystander Behavior and Sexual Harassment: The Case of the Fashion Industry

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2 Scopus citations


This study examines the role of bystander behavior in cases of sexual harassment within the cultural economy's fashion industry. Using grounded theory to explore 34 sexual harassment narratives posted on Instagram, this analysis revealed that while some bystander victim–alliance behavior occurred in the forms of verbal objections and a strong physical presence to thwart perpetrators, bystander facilitation of perpetrator abuse was much more common. Types of facilitation included active bystander complicity, bystander inaction, and what is termed automatic industry bystander deference, whereby seemingly widespread acceptance of certain norms in the business prevented intervention. Implications for victim counseling, bystander intervention training, and public policy reforms are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalViolence Against Women
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


  • bystanders
  • fashion industry
  • grounded theory
  • sexual harassment


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