Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Sigal Barsade, PhD


The United States is facing two major concurrent phenomena that have recently interacted in a very public and momentous manner. Namely, sexual assault continues to be a glaring social, and now political, issue in modern American life. Simultaneously, we are living through the most politically polarized era in the history of our country. The division between the identity of modern Democrats and Republicans continues to widen as political partisanship becomes a key part of a modern American’s identity. As sexual assault becomes politicized, this research seeks to understand the link between an individual’s political identity and how he or she then interprets an alleged incident of sexual assault. Previous research has not addressed this relationship, nor how it manifests in the workplace as compared to a purely political setting. Through a survey of American adults, this research delves into how political identity influences an individual’s judgement of an alleged incident of sexual assault in two distinct settings. Overall, the survey results offered support my hypothesis that a match in partisan identity between a respondent and alleged perpetrator would be linked to a more lenient judgment of the perpetrator. Furthermore, there is evidence that this match in partisan identity would be more salient in decision-making for allegations made in a purely political context as opposed to in a workplace. This research also suggests that Republican respondents were more likely than Democratic respondents to be lenient in the case of a party match.


sexual assault, united states politics, judgement



Date Posted: 18 December 2020


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