Virtual Reality in Sexual Harassment Prevention: Proof-of-Concept Study

Shiri Sadeh-Sharvit, Jonathan Giron, Shir Fridman, Maxine Hanrieder, Shany Goldstein, Doron Friedman, Shir Brokman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sexual harassment (SH) training is a major public health priority, and available programs show limited efficacy. We present a new application for virtual agents in virtual reality (VR), which has the potential to deliver SH training that imitates real world scenarios and is yet safe. We conducted a proof-of-concept study to examine whether a VR simulation of a job interview during which the interviewer, a semi-automated virtual agent, sexually harasses the interviewee is an effective practice tool for women, and could serve as the basis for developing skills for effective response. Five females (24-25 years old) participated in this VR scenario and were then interviewed about their reactions to the VR scenario and the virtual agent. Four main themes emerged: paralysis and fear, uncertainty how to respond, resurfacing of previous SH experiences, and VR as an effective training tool for preventing SH. Findings suggest that contemporary virtual agents in VR can induce the sense of being harassed, similar to real humans. VR offers a safe exposure for SH and may serve as a learning platform to empower women in considering and practicing more effective responses to future SH experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 21st ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages87-89
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)9781450386197
DOIs
StatePublished - 14 Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event21st ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2021 - Virtual, Online, Japan
Duration: 14 Sep 202117 Sep 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 21st ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2021

Conference

Conference21st ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2021
Country/TerritoryJapan
CityVirtual, Online
Period14/09/2117/09/21

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Owner/Author.

Keywords

  • Exposure intervention
  • Self-efficacy
  • Sexual harassment
  • Virtual Reality
  • Virtual humans

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