Home | About | Donate

Out of Spotlight and Across Industries, Surveys Reveal Pervasive Sexual Harassment of Women


Out of Spotlight and Across Industries, Surveys Reveal Pervasive Sexual Harassment of Women

Common Dreams staff

National survey show more than a third of women across America are abused by bosses, colleagues, and customers while on the job


Nothing new here but I would up the percentage to at least 85% (women) based on may own experience over several decades in the workplace. No mention made of what flight attendants have endured since the advent of passenger air travel with “stewards and stewardesses” in the 1930’s (by passengers and cockpit crews alike). The stories I could tell.

The women who work in college athletics are also objectified, marginalized, and harassed daily.

It is ubiquitous.


Ladies, I know a job may be at stake here, however if you are assaulted verbally or physically by a sexual predator, please, pick up the phone and dial 911 and report the sexual assault.

There are various rights organizations that can assist you in pressing charges and seeking lost wages if you are relieved of your job.

A job is not worth this.


Pony, I agree with you on this, in principle. But it is very hard to stand up for one’s rights when living (barely) from paycheck to paycheck, especially if one has children.


I’m pretty sure that most everyone here agrees with this Nighthawk.

Now that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, the conversation in Washington DC, must be directed towards the protection of the victims of these crimes.

Those who are responsible for these crimes, “must” pay for the pain and suffering they cause.

Lawmakers at the State and Local levels can begin legislation to provide these protections, if the Congress is too inept.

The worse part of all of this is that primarily only “one” gender is receiving the brunt of these assaults.

This one single issue can quite possibly topple our government, as we all know, Trump is the most visible offender in these crimes.

Thanks to the brave women, and all of those negatively affected by the sick, perverted behavior of those who abuse them, thanks to them and their support for each other, this is now a time to change laws, punish abusive individuals, and create a sea change in the way we treat our fellow human beings.

We all have a part to play in this.

Power, must be held accountable.


There’s a word that isn’t mentioned enough in this article and that word is union.

That word needs to be front and center in any discussion about how to protect workers. In fact, the receding levels of unionization in the American workforce can be directly tied to trends in economic inequality, the vanishing middle class, loss of pensions, poor or non-existent health coverage and lower voter turnout.

"Most research on the importance of unions to the middle class tends to focus on how unions improve market wages for both union and nonunion workers. This research is no doubt vital, but it gives short shrift to the critical role unions play in making democracy work for the middle class.

Unions help boost political participation among ordinary citizens—especially among members, but also among nonunion members—and convert this participation into an effective voice for pro-middle-class policies.

This explains why states with a greater percentage of union members have significantly higher voter turnout rates, as well as higher minimum wages, a greater percentage of residents covered by health insurance, stronger social safety nets, and a more progressive tax code, as charts in this brief will illustrate."

Many of the problems routinely raised on Common Dreams, such as low voter participation, lack of health care and regressive tax codes, could be more effectively fought with greater support for the various campaigns to organize low wage workers, such as Fight for $15, Restaurant Opportunities Center, National Domestic Workers Alliance and others.

Unions are, quite simply, an essential tool for collective action.


The article specifically mentions the hospitality union Unite Here, quotes Maria Elena Durazo, one of its officials, at length, and details steps it is taking to study and address the problem of sexual misconduct as experienced by its mostly female and largely minority membership.

With that said, I agree with the rest of your comment.


I said not “enough”, because that single reference was not enough - especially given that there are ongoing national efforts to organize farmworkers and restaurant workers of all types, some of which are directly addressing the issue of sexual harassment.


Social media campaigns and newspaper articles are worthy means of raising awareness, but we aren’t going to effectively address injury to working people without actually organizing workers.


Absolutely! Without a union for flight attendants, airlines would use and abuse them at will as they are NOT covered by the FAR’s as are pilots. I knew FA’s that worked for Continental Airlines back in the day when the hedge funders bought it out, kicked out the FA and mechanics’ unions, left the pilots (ALPA) alone until the new owners starting selling off the aircraft, routes, and stations across the country and worldwide. Without the union, the Cont. FA’s worked very long hours and when there was a mechanical problem with an airplane at the outgoing point during a two or three day trip (overnight), they were left to find their own way back to base/home as the aircraft was ferried back to base without them. Such is the corporate way. They like nothing better than to oust unions in order to brutalize their labor force emotionally, physically and financially while paying the CEO, CFO and other execs exorbitant salaries along with platinum perquisite packages. That is the zeitgist that pervades throughout the US (and everywhere the corps have facilities/operations around the world).


night –
Very much agree –
depending on the degree of the “assault” a woman may be in shock.
This isn’t always something described as “harassment” and if it is
something more serious a woman may have other immediate concerns
such as becoming pregnant. Plus, always the concern of ensuring that
her children are safe and cared for.

In some of the Weinstein masturbating events, there was more than
one woman involved at the time. That would seem clearly reportable.
If it’s one woman making the claim, that may be viewed as something else.

Nor can women regularly depend upon friendly policing or judges.


Pony –

Ladies, I know a job may be at stake here, however if you are assaulted verbally or physically by a sexual
predator, please, pick up the phone and dial 911 and report the sexual assault.

35-40 percent of women reporting they have been harassed at work. (9% of men)

Quinnipiac U found 60% of women sexually harassed generally and 65% women at work (20% of men at work)

_Women working in service industries, such as hotels and restaurants, are especially susceptible to sexual harassment and assault. _
Immigrants, particularly those who are undocumented, often experience abuse.

Farmworker – Alianza Nacional de Campesinas agricultural sector across the country.
_approximately 700,000 women who work in the agricultural fields and packing sheds across the United States," _
_"We wish that we could say we’re shocked to learn that [sexual abuse] is such a pervasive problem in your industry. _
Sadly, we’re not surprised because it’s a reality we know far too well."

_Human Rights Watch nearly all of 52 female farmworkers surveyed had experienced sexual abuse on the job, _
University of California at Santa Cruz found that out of 150 women working on farms, 60 percent had been sexually harassed.

_Restaurant Servers - _
_Chicago Tribune reported pervasiveness of sexual harassment and assault in the restaurant industry, _
_naming high-profile restaurateurs like John Besh in New Orleans—but stressing that much of the abuse _
happens in the lower ranks of the business:

_Many kitchens are boys’ clubs, dominated by machismo and flashing knives; _
many women rely on pleasing their male customers and managers for tips or good shifts;

Tribune reported women who spoke about sexual misconduct in restaurant kitchens, bars,
_ and management teams—from waitresses who were grabbed by customers _
to a cook-dishwasher who was raped in a back room by a restaurant owner.

_EEOC/2015 reported more complaints of sexual harassment in the hotel and food services industry than in any other sector. _
Restaurant Opportunities Center United found that one-third of women who worked in restaurants reported that unwanted touching was a common occurrence at their jobs.

Hotel Staff
_Huffington Post reported on how low-wage workers in hotels are frequently abused. _
_"Frankly, I don’t think much of the public understands what housekeepers go through _
just to clean these rooms and carry out the work,"

_“Durazo’s union has advocated for housekeepers to be given handheld, wireless panic buttons _
_hat can alert hotel security when a worker feels threatened―a sign of how dire it views the _
_problem of sexual predation in the hotel industry,” the report notes. _
_The union is working to negotiate the use of panic buttons in their employer contracts as well as _
lobbying cities to require them through local legislation.

_Durazo/Huff Post reports:fundamental problem: an imbalance of economic power _
_between perpetrators and their victims, especially when the victims are working in _
or near poverty. **"We have to do something to equalize the power so that women really **
_have the ability to speak up, without having to risk their livelihood," she said. _
“That goes for whether you’re a housekeeper or a food server or a big-time actor.”

_Unite Here surveyed 500 Chicago area member housekeepers/servers in hotels/casinos. _
_Many were immigrants and women of color …77% of casino workers and 58% of hotel _
workers reported that they had been **sexually harassed by a guest,*
and 56% of those hotel workers said they felt unsafe on the job following the harassment.

Just envision what would follow a call to 911 to report these assaults.

Doubts are still expressed by men (and even women, amazingly) about Bill Cosby’s accusers…
About the Weinstein accusers and many other of the women reporting this harassment.

Notice also the response of Yvette Vega (Producer for the Charlie Rose Show)
who told women reporting Charlie Rose’s highly inappropriate appearances before them
“in the nude” and his sexual comments to them on the job and in phone calls…
“That’s just Charlie being Charlie …”

And think about this …

Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies

The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.

There is retaliation – and there have been settlements where “gag laws” silenced the victims.
This is true of crimes committed and covered up by RCC and by any employer who will
immediately see any reporting of sexual harassment even by their customers/guests as a
negative for their business.


Very happy to see the comments about the need for labor to unite –

Just want to repeat some comments I’ve made before in that regard…

The highest levels of unionization ever reached in US was 39% and with
the rise of the right wing and by co-option of the unions – and even use
of Mafia to destroy those unions we are reduced to something like 7% now.
(Hope someone here might have better news on that figure --)

The strongest uniting force among everyone on this planet is that we are
all LABOR.

But the idea that we need approval from our corrupt government to unite
in the interests of labor – or that we need the approval of corrupt corporations
to unite in those interests – has to be challenged.

And once again showing the power of right wing propaganda, the idea that
unions were taken over by Mafia was used to destroy the concept of unions.

Elites use Mafia – that’s why they exist.

At certain periods in recent times, the public has been rather naĂŻve about that

Additionally – and very specifically - various Unions under corrupt leadership
were used to block AA/POC labor and female labor from membership.

Over the last decades, as well, companies have been destroyed and dismantled
and workers’ salaries downgraded while work loads have been increased and
working conditions have been downgraded.