The Nation – #metoo and workplace sexual harassment

Workplace sexual harassment is a big issue. The Nation is looking at this this morning, in particular on the law profession.

88% of respondents to a survey by the Criminal Bar Association reported experiencing or witnessing harassment or bullying in the legal profession.

65% of respondents to a anonymous Criminal Bar Association survey said Judges were perpetrating harassment and bullying in the workplace

It is likely to be difficult to stand up against that, given the prominence of males in positions of power.

Former Lawyer Olivia Wensley live in studio discussing workplace harassment – “The legal profession is small in New Zealand. There are grave implications professionally for speaking out”.

“I was never asked if I experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. We called it “discourtesy”. We need to call a spade a spade – It’s sexual harassment.

“You can be out the door within seconds if you dare speak up” about workplace harassment and bullying.

There is significant under reporting.

NZ Law Society President Kathryn Beck on sexual harassment in the workplace – “We have acknowledged we have a problem of under reporting in this area.

“We have to change our culture”

It is an embedded culture problem. Very difficult to change.

Wensley says ‘hit them in the pocket”. Education is not going to do much.

Now Jan Logie is being interviewed.

Under-Secretary for Justice Jan Logie on addressing sexual harassment in the workplace – “This is being taken seriously right across Government”

“Deeply worried” about survey stating judges have been perpetrating workplace harassment and bullying

It’s tricky when judges are a major part of the problem, and are employed by the Government, but there needs to be clear separation of power.

40 Comments

    • Missy

       /  March 24, 2018

      Hamish Price has a point, but worse than that, it seems the Nation are trying to make it into a big sexual harassment scandal involving only women, when looking at the results in Pete’s other post less than 30% of the respondents were on the end of ‘unwanted sexual attention’, so the figure for sexual harassment could be a lot lower.

      It seems that the biggest issue (going on this survey) is not sexual harassment but bullying, which no doubt affects men and women.

      Women do not have a monopoly on being harassed – sexually or otherwise – nor do they have a monopoly on being bullied in the workplace, if they want to be seen to take this issue seriously men need to be a part of the conversation as well. The Nation are insulting the public by being so narrow in dealing with this.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 24, 2018

        It also makes women seem helpless and feeble against men who are stronger in all ways.

  1. PDB

     /  March 24, 2018

    The first thing that needs to ascertained & established is what constitutes ‘sexual harassment’ as we seemed to have moved away from previously accepted meanings;

    Dictionary: “harassment (typically of a woman) in a workplace, or other professional or social situation, involving the making of unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks.”

    Seems pretty straight forward, but is it?

    https://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2017/11/daily-chart-14

    “One consistent pattern that emerged was a generation gap. In general, younger respondents were more likely to think that a behaviour crossed the line than their older peers were. For example, over half of British women under 30 said that wolf-whistling was unacceptable. Less than a fifth of those over 64 felt that way.”

    “Between men and women, differences of opinion emerged for specific questions. Both sexes tended to have similar views on whether a man who places his hand on a woman’s lower back or comments on her attractiveness has gone too far. However, female respondents were much less tolerant of men looking at women’s breasts than their male counterparts were: among Americans 64 and older, for example, half of women but just a quarter of men said they would consider such ogling sexual harassment.”

    “Similarly, a quarter of French women under 30 believe that even asking to go for a drink is harassment, whereas almost none of their counterparts in Britain and Germany share that view.”

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 24, 2018

      If someone’s boobs are almost falling out, it’s difficult NOT to look, if only to wonder if they are going to.Why would someone put everything on display if they don’t want people to look ?

      If asking someone to go out for a drink is harassment, what would asking someone to go to the opera be ?

      • phantom snowflake

         /  March 24, 2018

        Cruel and unusual punishment! lol

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 25, 2018

          (judge puts black cap on)

          ‘Prisoner at the bar, you have been found guilty of the crime of asking a woman to accompany you to Il Trovatore. The sentence of this court is that you be returned to the place from which you came and thence to a place of execution where you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead…..’

  2. sorethumb

     /  March 24, 2018

    I once encountered a weird women who had a thing about men and their attempt to mount woman. “He tried to get into me” (as she put it) was a crime in itself. A female employee once gave her a message and (according to her) went “gooey”. That was enough for her to go to the management and have the women sacked. The corporate are scared shitless. She wore leathers with chain.

    • sorethumb

       /  March 24, 2018

      massage

    • sorethumb

       /  March 24, 2018

      What Im saying here is that there is a dangerous type of woman out there with some sort of odd behavioural issue.

    • Blazer

       /  March 24, 2018

      having your own ‘stalker’ was fashionable a few years back.Without one you just weren’t …complete.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 24, 2018

        I immediately warned a teacher that a ‘mature student’ had complained that he ‘was invading her personal/female space.’ He wasn’t, of course, what kind of fool would in a classroom even if they wanted to ?

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 25, 2018

          The woman was rather strange, to say the least.

          A late friend, a schoolmaster, had a pupil who would sit in the front row and open her legs to display her knickers. He totally ignored this and didn’t look directly at her although he knew that she was doing it as she always did. He wasn’t such a fool as to give her an excuse for telling that he had looked at her undies.

          This was really harassment.

  3. sorethumb

     /  March 24, 2018

    At the very base of the culture wars is an attack on categourisation (Meetoo =Youtoo)

    • PartisanZ

       /  March 24, 2018

      Dear Pavlov’s Lobster, what you say is not entirely without some relevance and extremely shrewd perception … It makes some sense, clearly designed to polarize opinion [perhaps with a view to selling books?] …

      You offer some insights into ‘The Adjustment’ as it is happening …

      And, at the very base of Neo-Fascist anti-neo-Marxism is defense of the perpetrator [usually male] and disregard for the victim [usually female]… as well as the same attitudes towards their real and metaphoric importance as masculine and feminine elements of human society … and yeah … if you dispense with the hierarchy you dispense with the value system …

      So, Lobster Brain-like, you defend the existing, entrenched, orthodox value system …

      • PartisanZ

         /  March 24, 2018

        For Phantom Snowflake …

        ‘ONCE WERE LOBSTERS’ …

  4. Traveller

     /  March 24, 2018

    As an aside it’s of importance to note that modern groundswell movements have their genesis in Social Media bypassing the Fourth Esate filter.

    MSM are always in catch up mode these days.

  5. sorethumb

     /  March 24, 2018

    I find these feminists offensive. 90% of the time the man has to break the ice for mounting to occur and so you have to leave a margin for attempt and rejection and, women tend to say “no’ (or resist a bit). The problem is when interest clouds reason and the man keeps misreading signals. Each case is different. These women detest the biology that delivered them.

    • Blazer

       /  March 24, 2018

      you appear to be an old school …’mountie’.Have a read of the Kama Sutra,and widen your…repertoire.

      • Corky

         /  March 24, 2018

        The KS is Maya for the average Westerner. We were genetically engineered by puritanical missionaries to honour their worldview when it comes to ” mounting.’

      • No amount of positioning knowledge will assist the man who is misogynistic and disrespectful or simply lacks charm or humour.

        • Blazer

           /  March 24, 2018

          sometimes good looks andor money count…sometimes they..don’t..
          https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/92961749/highprofile-hotel-magnate-earl-hagaman-dies-aged-92

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 24, 2018

            There are ancient paintings of sex with the man on top; I mean thousands of years old, long before missionaries came along.

            I wouldn’t be surprised if the missionary thing was an urban myth.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 24, 2018

              Yes, it is.

              What does the Kama Sutra have to do with an ancient South American civilisation ?

            • Patzcuaro

               /  March 24, 2018

              The Incas came from South America based around Peru, the Mayas inhabited Southern Mexico down to Honduras and the Aztecs were based around Mexico City.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 24, 2018

              I didn’t bother to go into all that detail as it didn’t seem necessary in the context of the Kama Sutra being Maya…the people are Mayans.

            • phantom snowflake

               /  March 24, 2018

              Corky is referring to the sanskrit word Maya which is often mistranslated as “illusion”.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  March 25, 2018

              Why did he use upper case, then ? That word makes little sense in the context, anyway.

              He’s not likely to know much Sanskrit.

  6. Patzcuaro

     /  March 24, 2018

    Mounties mount horses or they use too, probably why they were called Mounties. In fact there full title is The Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

    In a sexual context it is a very macho way of looking at things. If you ask a female if you can mount her, she may take umbrage and if you persist it may lead to an allegation of harassment.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  March 24, 2018

      He would be asking to have his face smacked, and he’d deserve it for this offensive request.

      • sorethumb

         /  March 25, 2018

        One should be more subtle?

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 25, 2018

          Well, to most women, I imagine, this would be a gross insult, It’s what people say of animals.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 25, 2018

          Oh, sorry, did you mean the man ?

  7. Missy

     /  March 24, 2018

    Reading this I don’t know if I am confused, the person reporting on it is confused, Olivia Wensley is confused, or those who conducted the survey are confused.

    The story talks about a survey of workplace harassment and bullying, yet it seems everyone (including you Pete) are automatically conflating that with sexual harassment.

    Not all harassment and bullying is sexual harassment, so they need to look at this survey and establish if they are talking about sexual harassment in the workplace or workplace harassment. Neither are acceptable, but in the public discourse there is a different connotation being put on sexual harassment over workplace harassment, and in this argument we (as a society) appear to be conflating all sorts of behaviour into one issue, when they are not, and this leads to a danger in some people being left out of the public discourse and being ignored when they have very real issues and concerns.

    • Missy

       /  March 24, 2018

      “88% of respondents to a survey by the Criminal Bar Association reported experiencing or witnessing harassment or bullying in the legal profession.

      65% of respondents to a anonymous Criminal Bar Association survey said Judges were perpetrating harassment and bullying in the workplace”

      Nowhere does it mention sexual harassment in this quote.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 24, 2018

        It did on the news, Missy, as part of the survey but I was surprised when I saw the news item. It certainly sounded like 100% sexual harassment when we heard about it. Sloppy reporting, I think !

        Some of the behaviour seemed hardly worth reporting, like someone shouting – we’d have to know the context. We have probably all shouted at someone in our time. One survey that proved that x% of children had witnessed domestic violence nincluded shouting.Unedifying, but an insult to victims of violence to call it violence.

  8. PartisanZ

     /  March 24, 2018

    “It’s tricky when judges are a major part of the problem, and are employed by the Government, but there needs to be clear separation of power.”

    Judges are human too. Clearly evident when one of them sends a young mother to prison for two years for not showing remorse and contrition at possessing a mere 600-odd grams of cannabis … while others who cultivate much larger amounts who say the right words and agree to ‘counselling’ get community service or home detention …

    There are countless examples of sentencing and bail deficiencies in judges decisions.

    IMHO there are some professions that should require stringent psychological testing and regular ongoing personal development work … individual counselling if you like … preferably groupwork as well … and being a judge is most definitely one of them …

    I believe the Cartwright Inquiry led both directly and indirectly to medical students finally receiving some formal education in ‘human relationships’ and ‘bedside manner’, concurrent with the whole informed consent issue being better addressed and upgraded?

    High time something similar happened in the Legal Profession maybe?

  9. Gezza

     /  March 24, 2018

    The Chief Justice says any bullying or harrassment of lawyers by judges is unacceptable to her and the senior bench & any incidences of it should be raised with her or the independent Judicial Conduct Commissioner.

    Here is the JCC:
    “Overview
    If you would like to make a complaint about the conduct of a Judge you should write to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner. All complaints about the conduct of a Judge are to be sent to the Commissioner in the first instance.

    The process is intended to help maintain public confidence in the Judicial system, and to protect its impartiality, integrity and independence.

    Anyone can complain about a Judge, but complaints must be about the conduct of a Judge, whether inside or outside court. The process cannot be used to challenge the legality or correctness of a Judge’s decision. In most cases a decision with which you do not agree can be reviewed by another judicial authority or there can be an appeal to a higher court.

    When considering a Judge’s conduct, you should be aware that it is sometimes necessary for Judges to be assertive in their manner. Judges must manage the court so that the proceedings are dealt with efficiently and effectively, without undue delay.

    Complaining about a Judge is a serious matter. While Parliament makes laws, Judges interpret and apply laws to the cases they deal with in court. Judges must be independent of the Government and be able to make decisions which are right in law and fairly arrived at, without being influenced by any other factors.

    Making a complaint
    A complaint has to be made in writing to the Judicial Conduct Commissioner at the following address:
    Judicial Conduct Commissioner
    Office of the Judicial Conduct Commissioner
    PO Box 2661
    Wellington
    or by emailing it to judicialconduct@jcc.govt.nz

    Your written complaint must:
    identify the Judge you are complaining about;
    identify yourself; and
    state what your complaint is about.

    The Commissioner will have to dismiss your complaint if it does not include all the necessary information but you may ask the Commissioner for assistance.

    The Commissioner will confirm in writing that your complaint has been received. The Judge you are complaining about will also be notified and may receive a copy of your complaint.
    In some cases the Commissioner may ask you to complete a statutory declaration about your complaint. Refusal to do so may result in your complaint being dismissed.”

    Not very encouraging …

  10. sorethumb

     /  March 25, 2018

    Helen Pluckrose to feminist girly men
    For years and years now, by men claiming to speak on my behalf from a platform of feminism, I have been directly and inferentially informed that I can be victimized by men’s shirts, advertisements with slim models, and ideas I don’t like. I am then told which ideas I should not like and which I must support. I receive explanations that I am incapable of dealing with the occasional asshole and will be traumatized if someone is mean to me. Your “feminism” would have me believe that I must fear male violence at all times and experience men as intimidating. Thanks to your softer bigotry, I apparently need speaking to softly and kindly and never being disagreed with lest my lived experience be denied, because, as a woman, I’m to understand I can so easily be erased. (It is, however, evidently just fine to disagree with me that its OK to disagree with me and to patronize me with explanations that “mansplaining” is a real thing.) You tell me I cannot be heard on my own terms, that I need men to be quiet on social media for my message to rise above the din and to give me their platforms and amplify my voice, or else people won’t know I exist. Very commonly you tell me this, completely unironically, whilst completely lacking any kind of platform or significant readership because you do not have anything intelligent or interesting to say.
    https://areomagazine.com/2018/03/20/an-appeal-to-male-feminists/