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Science

Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork 362

Posted by Soulskill
from the communities-that-needs-fixing dept.
sciencehabit writes: Universities and other workplaces have codes of conduct guarding against sexual harassment. But what about the more casual venue of scientific fieldwork—which is also a workplace? A new survey finds that sexual harassment and assaults occur frequently in the field, with little consequence for the perpetrators or explicit prohibitions against such conduct. The study reveals that the primary targets were young women who were harassed, assaulted, and even raped by men who were usually senior to them in rank, although men also reported harassment.
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Sexual Harassment Is Common In Scientific Fieldwork

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  • Such harassment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WarSpiteX (98591) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @05:31PM (#47470965) Homepage

    "jokes about physical beauty and cognitive sex differences"

    It's so hard to take these reports seriously when they include the most trifling transgressions along with the truly egregious ones.

    http://www.hackcanada.com/canadian/zines/spacemoose/polisci.gif

    • It's hard to take your point seriously when the only link you provide is to a webcomic.

      • It's hard to take your point seriously when your post contains only an accusation masquerading as a glib comment with no real content.

    • Re:Such harassment (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:15PM (#47471271)

      The thing is that the people that write these "reports" think the trifling transgressions are just as bad as rape. Many are what can only be described as "female supremacists" that will us any and all real, perceived and fabricated instances of "sexual harassment" to fight men wherever they can be found. I do not think it is a good idea to take these characters seriously at all, because their agenda is far more despicable and repulsive than what they claim to fight against.

      • Re:Such harassment (Score:4, Insightful)

        by seebs (15766) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:20PM (#47471305) Homepage

        I don't think they think the "trifling" transgressions are "just as bad". I've never heard anyone say, or even suggest, that they are "just as bad".

        On the other hand, I've seen very good evidence presented that the "trifling" transgressions tend to correlate strongly with environments in which people are a lot more comfortable pushing things a lot harder. which means that there is at least some reason to believe that they may contribute to an environment where people will think they can get away with rape. That, and "trifling" transgressions can have a significant cumulative effect over time.

        • Re:Such harassment (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gweihir (88907) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:31PM (#47471385)

          Oh? When they make statics that count them the same, that is not claiming they are of a similar nature? Well then, maybe they just have not even a basic grasp of statistics. On second though, it may also be use of a well established manipulation technique, where a high number is claimed by lumping in everything and the kitchen sink, and then pretending the worst thing in there is representative. Like in "99% of women have experienced gender-related events, such as rape". See the problem here? This is nothing anybody with the slightest shred of honor would say. It is something only people that want to crush their (perceived or real) enemy, no matter the cost to the truth.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Some_Llama (763766)

          "I don't think they think the "trifling" transgressions are "just as bad". I've never heard anyone say, or even suggest, that they are "just as bad"."

          well you don't know what they think, but you can infer from their actions, and when they lump together rape with an off color joke, then use the combination of two separate and disparate incidents to use as a factor in the proposed statistic, then yes they are statistically equating the two as "just as bad".

          maybe you're just not seeing the radical motivations

        • I don't think they think the "trifling" transgressions are "just as bad". I've never heard anyone say, or even suggest, that they are "just as bad".

          I don't think most people (even most strong feminists) would say things like that, but the word "rape" is coming up increasingly in relation to things that are nowhere near as extreme. For an extreme example [carbonated.tv]:

          Goshen College of Indiana declared all male students who stare at women as rapists early this year.

          They state on their website:

          "Don't allow psychological rape or commit it yourself. Psychological rape consists of verbal harassment, whistles, kissing noises, heavy breathing, sly comments or stares. These are all assaults on any woman's sense of well-being."

          It looks like the link has since been taken down (but you can still see archived screenshots here [avoiceformen.com]).

          Obviously this is an extremist perspective. But the ideas are out there, and it's not surprising that some people will equate "trifling transgressions" with much worse things, given the common use of t

    • Re:Such harassment (Score:4, Informative)

      by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:52PM (#47471491)

      And don't forget they almost always use operational definitions which tailor the statistics to suit their needs, like the NISVS refusing to count female-on-male rape as "Rape" and recording it instead as "Other".

    • by amaurea (2900163)

      Another problem is sloppy wording of questions. Here is one example from the survey:

      32. Have you ever personally experienced inappropriate or sexual remarks, comments about physical beauty, cognitive sex differences, or other jokes, at an anthropological field site?

      Technically, if somebody ever told you a joke about anything at a field site, then "yes" would be a valid answer, depending on how one interprets which parts of the sentence "inappropriate or sexual" applies to. The same applies to the other subclauses, like cognitive sex differences or beauty, both of which are completely valid subjects of discussion.

      I think the questions asked here do very little to distinguish harassment

  • Boobies (Score:5, Funny)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:02PM (#47471189) Journal

    Scientist A: Show me pictures of your boobies!
    Scientist B: They're really big [wikipedia.org]

    My hobby: Making clean jokes.

  • by Nexion (1064)

    Those dirty filthy paleontologist types... I swear! They are giving us all a bad name!

  • <sarcasm=on>

    If it's good enough for the President, it's good enough for the common man.
    </sarcasm>

    Seriously, if we're going to excuse it at the highest levels when because we like what the person does otherwise, what do you expect?

  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:34PM (#47471697)
    My wife was the victim of sexual harassment - closer to assault.

    what she did was go after the guy full bore, no holds barred, and not one thing made not perfectly clear.. Reported it to the employer, letting him know that he (the employer)had a choice. Do something about it before the day was over, or face the legal consequences of both himself and the asswipe being served the next morning. She outlined exactly what she was going to do. Which included sexual assault charges, and charges against the employer for having such a person in their employ., with a whole lot of publicity.

    Her harasser got to not only go through a long list of reparations and counseling, he ended up being her employee.

    This was in the home construction industry which if no one has noticed, is a whole lot less amenable to sexual equality that a university environment.

    Which is all to say that if there is harassment, if there is assault. Then fucking do something about it. Otherwise, it's just an anecdote. This crap of just saying men are pigs, look what they do - is grade A bullshit. Press charges, dammit!

  • by Krishnoid (984597) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:34PM (#47471699) Journal

    SKINNER: Six hours, nineteen minutes, right ascension, fourteen degrees, twenty-two minutes declination... no sighting.

    BART: Mm-hm.

    SKINNER: Six hours, nineteen minutes, right ascension, fourteen degrees, twenty-three minutes declination... no sighting.

    BART: Mm-hm.

    ...

    SKINNER: (excitedly) Six hours, nineteen minutes, right ascension, fourteen degrees, fifty-eight minutes declination! ...no sighting. Did you get that one Bart?

    BART: Hell no.

    I can't imagine why scientific fieldwork in particular could provide an environment that promotes inappropriate behavior.

    • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday July 17, 2014 @03:49AM (#47473239) Journal

      I can't imagine why scientific fieldwork in particular could provide an environment that promotes inappropriate behavior.

      You jest, but clearly you've never been on an archaeology dig. They often consist of the academic, a few students and a bunch of randoms. The randoms are generally slightly strange people (not necessarily in a bad way) who have no job responsibilities who can sit in a field for two months and dig. They come from -all- walks of life. "normal" people generally do not sit in a field for two months and dig.

      Anyway you can only dig in daylight hours and the field is in the middle of nowhere. And there's the possibility of theives trying to steal artefacts (this does happen), so the archaeologists often camp out at the dig.

      After hours it's all bonfires, booze, music and drugs.

  • by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @07:42PM (#47471725)
    of this all, is that normal, prudent men will end up avoiding all of the women they work with, while the creeps wont change a thing.

    I saw this happen in the late 80's, when the heavy handed sexual harassment efforts first started.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @08:54PM (#47472057)

    Look, I hate to be the asshole who says this, but

    Saying 'hello' to a woman is not harassment.

    Touching a woman's hand once accidentally in the breakroom as you both reach for the same item simultaneously is not assault.

    Women withdrawing consent hours or days after sexual activity is not rape.

    Go calculate the numbers after you remove such incidents and then tell me what the actual occurence of male-on-female misbehavior is.

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