Purdue University Graduate School
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Analyzing Large Language Models For Classifying Sexual Harassment Stories With Out-of-Vocabulary Word Substitution

posted on 2024-04-25, 15:30 authored by Seung Yeon PaikSeung Yeon Paik

Sexual harassment is regarded as a serious issue in society, with a particularly negative impact on young children and adolescents. Online sexual harassment has recently gained prominence as a significant number of communications have taken place online. Online sexual harassment can happen anywhere in the world because of the global nature of the internet, which transcends geographical barriers and allows people to communicate electronically. Online sexual harassment can occur in a wide variety of environments such as through work mail or chat apps in the workplace, on social media, in online communities, and in games (Chawki & El Shazly, 2013).
However, especially for non-native English speakers, due to cultural differences and language barriers, may vary in their understanding or interpretation of text-based sexual harassment (Welsh, Carr, MacQuarrie, & Huntley, 2006). To bridge this gap, previous studies have proposed large language models to detect and classify online sexual harassment, prompting a need to explore how language models comprehend the nuanced aspects of sexual harassment data. Prior to exploring the role of language models, it is critical to recognize the current gaps in knowledge that these models could potentially address in order to comprehend and interpret the complex nature of sexual harassment.

The Large Language Model (LLM) has attracted significant attention recently due to its exceptional performance on a broad spectrum of tasks. However, these models are characterized by being very sensitive to input data (Fujita et al., 2022; Wei, Wang, et al., 2022). Thus, the purpose of this study is to examine how various LLMs interpret data that falls under the domain of sexual harassment and how they comprehend it after replacing Out-of-Vocabulary words.

This research examines the impact of Out-of-Vocabulary words on the performance of LLMs in classifying sexual harassment behaviors in text. The study compares the story classification abilities of cutting-edge LLM, before and after the replacement of Out-of-Vocabulary words. Through this investigation, the study provides insights into the flexibility and contextual awareness of LLMs when managing delicate narratives in the context of sexual harassment stories as well as raises awareness of sensitive social issues.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Computer and Information Technology

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Tatiana Ringenberg

Additional Committee Member 2

Julia Rayz

Additional Committee Member 3

Tianyi Li

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