Sexual harassment is everywhere


Whenever there’s revelations about endemic sexism and sexual harassment, whether in a particular organisation or in a wider context, people always express surprise. Yet as more and more stories come out it becomes clear that sexism isn’t an abberation confined to a few places but is systematic to the extent that it’s surprising when there aren’t stories. The latest place to start admitting they have a problem is the theatre.

It’s a depressing but familiar story.



Mark Kermode is the co-host of one of my favourite podcasts and he’s very good at recognising misogyny in films. In a recent blog he bemoans the sexism in the film industry, prompted by the new tumblr Shit People Say to Women Directors. It’s a really nice blog but the comments are, as always, proof we have a long way to go. A lot of “if you’re good enough, you’ll make it regardless of your sex” and “maybe women just don’t want to work in film”.



Female scientists report pervasive gender bias, sexual harassment
An incredibly depressing study that found that 2/3 of female biomedical researchers had experienced gender bias and 1/3 had faced sexual harassment. Of those who had been sexual harassed, nearly half said it had affected their careers and 60% that it had affected their confidence.



Half of women ‘sexually harassed at work’ - TUC survey

The TUC found that in nine out of 10 cases the perpetrator was male and nearly one in five women (17%) said it was their line manager, or someone with direct authority over them.

Some 79% of women who said they were victims of sexual harassment did not tell their employer.

Reasons given included fear that reporting would affect their relationships at work (28%) or their career prospects (15%).

Nearly a quarter (24%) of those who did not report abuse said it was because they felt that they would not be believed or taken seriously and 20% said they were too embarrassed.

I don’t have any non-swearing words for this.



More sexual harassment,
A cybersecurity expert at an IT security firm posted a photo on her company’s LinkedIn, asking followers to guess how many USB sticks she was holding to win a bottle of champagne. The responses were horrifying. LinkedIn deleted the post altogether.

And an interesting article on how sexism in science no longer being ignored,

“There are enough well-publicized cases that the hypothesis that it’s just a few isolated ‘bad apples,’” Stemwedel said, “doesn’t seem plausible anymore.”



More sexual harassment,
A cybersecurity expert at an IT security firm posted a photo on her company’s LinkedIn, asking followers to guess how many USB sticks she was holding to win a bottle of champagne. The responses were horrifying. LinkedIn deleted the post altogether.

And an interesting article on how sexism in science no longer being ignored,

“There are enough well-publicized cases that the hypothesis that it’s just a few isolated ‘bad apples,’” Stemwedel said, “doesn’t seem plausible anymore.”



More depressing stats, this time from Australia,

Sexual abuse, harassment at universities: attitudes have not changed in decades, says Gillian Triggs



Harassment is indeed everywhere.

When you’re running:
Huh! Sexual Harassment Is as Big a Problem for Female Runners as for All Other Women.

When you’re working:
UC Regent Is Sorry ‘If’ He Sexually Harassed His Employees by Asking to Hold Their Breasts

And even when you’re in virtual reality:
My first virtual reality groping
This piece has, incredibly, inspired the game makers to create a solution. Both the harassment and the solution are discussed in here and here. The first piece looks at the solution while the second piece takes a more historical look of harassment in gaming.

The Myth That Women Are Never To Be Believed Endures—Centuries Later
A very personal look at harassment and how we refuse to believe women.



Sexual assault and harassment in the United States are all too common, even before Donald Trump
One of the only good things to come out of the US election is that it has brought the systemic harassment of women to public attention. This article examines how harassment and sexual assault has been a long-standing feature of US life.



Blame the victim? Domestic violence as covered in The Sun and The Guardian
An investigative report comparing the language used to cover domestic violence in UK tabloids and broadsheets. It comes as no surprise to reveal that The Sun used victim blaming, portraying men as being generally good guys pushed to the end of their tether by vicious harpies. The Guardian not only did more articles, but they were more in depth and did more ‘broad view’ reporting looking at domestic violence as a societal issue rather than focusing on a particular case.



Ex-Stanford professor: I was pushed out after reporting sexual harassment
Yet another report of a university punishing the victim of sexual harassment rather than the perpetrator. It’s a familiar story but one that needs highlighting, if only to remind people that these stories are ridiculously common.



Twitter joke about Barry Gibb’s Glastonbury ‘covers’ descends into farce

‘Getting groped is just part of a normal night out’

This Woman Was Told To Leave A Pool After Her One-Piece Swimsuit Was Deemed “Inappropriate”

Steep rise in number of air passengers arrested for drunken behaviour

On the stand in her groping case, Taylor Swift was every woman. And that’s what’s so sad.

Taylor Swift: jury rules in favor of pop singer in groping case



Frenchmen need educating, not fines

I do feel the evolution of the male French mindset must continue, but this is a question of education rather than more legislation. Plenty of laws exist and need only be implemented more often. Did you know that bottom-groping in France may land you in prison for five years? So who needs a €5,000 fine for wolf-whistling? The problem is not the absence of laws, but French education.

The Anti-Rape Gadgets That Never Delivered
I like this piece. So many gadgets have been announced over the years and while I understand the mindset behind them, I’ve always been suspicious that they just keep the onus on women to be constantly on the lookout for rapists, which can lead to the question if something did happen ‘why didn’t you have the drug-identifying nail varnish, the anti-rape knickers etc’ rather than asking the rapist ‘why did you rape this person?’

‘What Were You Wearing?’ exhibit at KU takes aim at sexual assault myth
A great exhibition which looks at that common victim-blaming question and shows how fucking stupid it is.

The problem with how men perceive rape
I love this piece as it highlights how women can be pressured into having sex and how difficult it is to define whether or not it’s rape. I was a fairly young teen when I heard of the line ‘lie back and think of England’. I never thought of it as rape until recently and I doubt many people ever think of it as rape but if it’s not then it’s pretty damn close.

‘Too fat to fly’: Russian women fight job discrimination
Not obviously sexual harassment but certainly in the ballpark.

A CNN Anchor Had To Abruptly End An Interview After A Guest Repeatedly Brought Up Boobs
I’m still struggling to get my head around this story.

“I’m a First Amendment absolutist. I believe in only two things completely,” Travis said after Baldwin asked him about the ESPN controversy. “The First Amendment and boobs.”



Sexual victimization by women is more common than known
It’s not always men who are perpetrators of sexual abuse and pretending otherwise does no one any good.

To thoroughly dismantle sexual victimization, we must grapple with its many complexities, which requires attention to all victims and perpetrators, regardless of their sex. This inclusive framing need not and should not come at the expense of gender sensitive approaches, which take into account the ways in which gender norms influence women and men in different or disproportionate ways.

“He said you wanted it”: what happened when I reported a man for exposing himself on a train
“If you were harassed you should go to the police” is the common cry from people with little understanding of how the world works. This piece should go some way to explaining why many women don’t bother.

I was the victim of a non-violent sexual crime and two witnesses - the train guard and BTP officer - testified that he had essentially admitted exposing himself, albeit that he tried to blame me for what happened. There was no defence lawyer who was being paid with the sole intention of mounting a case against me. And yet I didn’t leave court feeling like justice had been done, I left feeling unsettled, undermined and like it was somehow still my fault. I’d caused a fuss by reporting it in the first place.

Study finds 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation when they spoke up
The stats are from 2003 so hopefully things have improved but I can’t imagine they’d have improved so much that they’ve become inconsequential.



Sexual harassment training is popular among companies, but it seems to be used more to cover their asses when accusations are made than to try an improve the workplace for their employees. A piece out this month discussing newly-published research found that it does nothing to improve behaviour.

There is little evidence sexual harassment trainings works

This corresponds well with research published last year looking at sexual harassment training in universities that found that not only does it not work, but it can actually backfire with those doing the training less able to recognise when behaviours were abusive or harassing than those who hadn’t done it.

"[A] Journal of Applied Behavioral Science study that evaluated a sexual harassment program for university employees found that men who participated in the training were “significantly less likely” to consider coercive behaviors toward a subordinate or student as sexual harassment compared with a control group of men who hadn’t done the training.

Men who completed the 30-minute training – during which officials discussed actions that constitute harassment, the harms of harassment, the importance of reporting and possible discipline – were also significantly less likely to report harassment.



This is a hearbreaking piece that shows how easy it is to be oblivious to the ubiquity of sexual harassment and abuse, and how great the consequences of that harassment can be. How many lives have been ruined?

I didn’t understand how widespread rape was. Then the penny dropped

Bullying is not just a relation between bully and victim. It’s really a three-way relation, between bully, victim and everyone who refuses to do anything about the aggression; all those people who say “boys will be boys” or pretend there’s some equivalence between aggressor and aggressed. Who see a conflict and say “it doesn’t matter who started it” even in cases where, in reality, nothing could possibly matter more.



‘A Complete Culture of Sexualization’: 1,600 Stories of Harassment in Higher Ed
This piece links in really nicely with the piece I put in the Harvey Weinstein thread about how this isn’t about sex, it’s about discrimination.

What I keep seeing is that women are getting hounded out of the academy, and we’re losing their contributions, and that’s a tragedy. Even if they stay in the academic world, their research has been compromised. They had to change advisers. They lost their funding because they had to move from one institution to another. They gave up a multiyear package.

Even if they stay — so many tenured professors have contributed — they talk about their continuing PTSD, continuing depression, anxiety. So people are living emotionally compromised lives because of this.