The hor­ror of sex­ual ha­rass­ment

An ex­plo­sive Hol­ly­wood scan­dal has alarmed us all, says Mor­gan Rear­don

Cosmopolitan (Australia) - - Work -

Hol­ly­wood heavy­weight and pro­ducer Har­vey We­in­stein’s al­leged sex­ual ha­rass­ment of ac­tresses and fe­male staff mem­bers has ig­nited a de­bate about abuse of power not only in Hol­ly­wood, but in all work­places. It’s got the Cosmo of­fice talk­ing. Just what is sex­ual ha­rass­ment? In short, any un­wel­come con­duct of a sex­ual na­ture in­clud­ing sugges­tive com­ments or jokes, in­tru­sive ques­tions about your pri­vate life or your ap­pear­ance, in­ap­pro­pri­ate star­ing, un­wel­come phys­i­cal contact and sex­u­ally ex­plicit texts, emails, im­ages or phone calls.

Think you’re im­mune to the misog­yny seen in Hol­ly­wood? You’re not. One in five women ex­pe­ri­ence sex­ual ha­rass­ment in the work­place in Aus­tralia*.

Lani** never ex­pected it to hap­pen to her. ‘I was in a meet­ing dis­cussing beauty treat­ments for a story when I men­tioned there was a prod­uct that had se­men as an in­gre­di­ent. My male boss turned to me, said, “Want a free fa­cial?”, and laughed. I never brought it up with any­one more se­nior than him be­cause I didn’t want to be seen as some­one who couldn’t take a joke. But I can take a joke, and this wasn’t one.’

While cases like We­in­stein’s might seem far away in La La Land, they aren’t. It’s hap­pen­ing in our back­yard and the only way to fight it is to speak up. If you feel like you’ve been a vic­tim and want to report it, check out Hu­man­rights.gov.au.

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