Objectives: The study was aimed to investigate the association between victimisation from sexual harassment and the development of PTSD and depressive symptoms among victims, and in addition, to examine potentially contributing mediating and moderating social factors involved in the process. Methods: A questionnaire was completed by 586 female university students in three cities in Pakistan. The mean age was 22.3 years (SD = 4.3). The questionnaire included scales for measuring the frequency of sexual harassment, the victim’s sharing of the incident with a close one, social support, abuse-related shame, fear of being harassed, self-esteem, symptoms of PTSD, and depression. Results: Abuse-related shame and fear of being harassed were found to serve as mediators between exposure to sexual harassment and PTSD and depression respectively. Social support, but not simply sharing the experience with a close one, had a moderating effect. The indirect effect of abuse-related shame was weaker among females who received social support after being victimised. Conclusion: The results emphasise the importance of mediating social factors for the negative well-being of female victims of sexual harassment. Furthermore, social support seems to moderate the negative effects of victimisation. Keywords: Sexual harassment, abuse-related shame, fear of being harassed, PTSD, depression, social support.
Corresponding Author: Farida Anwar