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The former Fox & Friends host on how to stop sexual harassment

Gretchen Carlson on how to stop sexual harassment.

The former Fox & Friends host on how to stop sexual harassment

Isaac Chotiner: Did your feelings about sexual harassment and how to talk and think about sexual harassment change based on your own experience, or have they always been what they are now, but it felt like the right moment, because of what happened to you, to write this book?

Gretchen Carlson: It was because after working 25 years in the business and working my way up from local news to the national scene and finding out that my career was going to be ended for me, not because I wanted to, at least at that place, I determined that if I didn’t speak out about it, who would? And after that happened I started hearing from so many women and they had never, ever had a voice, and I felt this sense of duty to tell their stories. And so that was really the impetus for the book: How can I use my voice to bring more national attention to this issue?

And look where we are today. It appears to be working. We have major national, international dialogue going on right now in regards to this issue, and new revelations coming out of Hollywood and elsewhere, and I really feel like if I had anything to do with that it makes me proud.

What message do you want to get across to people who have experienced harassment about how they should both think about it and act on it?

Actually, Chapter 4 is an entire playbook. It’s my 12-point plan for women if they are going through this right now. And some men: I have also spoken to men victims. And so I really lay out—it’s like if you can put it in your back pocket and use it as a guidebook to have a sense and a plan of what to do. Some of the highlights are be sure to document what’s happening to you, be sure you call a lawyer first—it’s really important in terms of a case. And to tell two or three trusted colleagues because you want to make sure you have witnesses. Unfortunately we are still in a he-said, she-said culture. And when women come forward, they are called liars and troublemakers. And I am hoping that that’s changing now, but as long as it’s still in our environment and culture, then you have to have a plan.

But the book is so much more than that too. It’s really about being inspired to be fierce in every aspect of your life in which you feel like you are not being heard. So many people have so many other things going on in their lives that are not sexual harassment, when they are bullied in school and feel like they don’t have a voice, sexual assault on college campuses, which is why I am going to be including a college tour on my book tour. And for women when they get into the workplace. You still don’t really have a voice when you are not paid equally, when you don’t get a seat in the boardroom, or get a promotion that you deserve. I am sure that every single person reading your story or reading my book will say, “Yeah, I don’t feel so good about this in my life, and it’s going to encourage me to speak up.”

With the Weinstein case, you hear people say, “Everybody knew,” and you certainly hear about that with your former employer. For men or women who hear rumors that people are being harassed, or hear first- or secondhand accounts, what do you think they should do?

Harvey Weinstein’s apparent activity of 30 years of abuse and harassment: There is no way that could have been going on without other people knowing about it, and enablers are actually as big a part of the problem as perpetrators in many cases. And so the way I look at that case is that there were immense cover-ups and it’s all an attempt to shut up the victims. And this is happening not only in Hollywood but all across the country. This is the way for whatever reason we have chosen to deal with these types of issues: keeping it taboo. So it’s incredibly important that we try to turn enablers into allies. We need men especially to come forward and be on our team.

Sexual violence against women: The scope of the problem

A research paper that looks at the extremely wide scope of violence towards women.

Child sexual abuse is global problem.  A number of reviews and meta-analyses have been undertaken on child abuse victimisation, and have found lifetime prevalence rates ranging from 7–36% for women and 3–29% for men.50–52 The WHO MCS found that between 1 and 21% of women interviewed reported child sexual abuse before the age of 15 years. In most cases, the perpetrator was a male family member other than the father or stepfather. The IMAGES study found rates of child sexual abuse against boys ranged, for example, from between 3% in Croatia, 8% in Chile, to 17% in Rwanda and 21% in India. Other data on the history of child sexual abuse (including both forced sexual intercourse and other sex act including such as unwanted touch) reported by adult women sourced from large Reproductive Health national surveys from Latin America and the Caribbean, found prevalence rates among women from 5.8% in El Salvador, 4.0% in Nicaragua, 2.9% in Ecuador, and 2.6% in Paraguay. Population-based data on the prevalence of child sexual abuse perpetration are completely lacking.

National surveys undertaken in developing countries have found high rates of child sexual abuse. Research from Bangladesh found a high proportion of men interviewed reported experiencing some form of sexual abuse during childhood (37% of urban man and 22% of rural). Other recent large studies on child abuse have been undertaken in Swaziland (girls only) and Tanzania. The Tanzanian study found that nearly three out of every 10 girls and three out of every 20 boys reported having experienced sexual abuse. The study in Swaziland found that about one in three girls had experienced some form of sexual violence before the age of 18 years. Most perpetrators (75%) were men and boys from the victims’ communities. In Switzerland, as survey of more than 6500 school children found that 22% of girls and 8% of boys reported ever having experienced sexual assault at least once in their lives, but only 3–5% of them said they had reported the abuse.56 Data from the US-based Adverse Childhood Experiences study found that 24.7% of girls and 16.0% of boys had experienced sexual abuse during their childhood.

Estimates for child sexual abuse vary greatly between studies. As with other types of sexual violence, variations in prevalence may be explained by differing methods and definitions used. Memory of the abuse may be repressed and thus prevent disclosure or uncertainty about what ‘really happened’. Much of the research has been conducted with adults asking about childhood experiences, and this increases the likelihood of recall bias. If children are interviewed, comparability is hindered by the age structure of the population (i.e. it is not possible to calculate the proportion of children ‘ever’ abused). Similarly, if adults are interviewed a past year prevalence of child sexual abuse cannot be calculated. The estimates cited by research need to be interpreted with these limitations in mind.

Ugh.  I wasn’t alone.  The study is worth the read.

Sexual assault the focus of Broom’s live podcast fundraiser

From The StarPhoenix

Looking back at a year of interviews with regular people about their day-to-day lives, Shawn Broom had an unhappy realization.

“A lot of our — especially female — guests have at some point in the conversation brought up the fact that they were raped or sexually assaulted, or they know someone who was,” said Broom, creator and host of The Story of U podcast.

“Obviously I knew it was a problem in society, but I didn’t realize how prevalent it was and how far-reaching it was.”

That epiphany is the reason for A Night of Hope and Healing, a Regina Sexual Assault Centre fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday night at the Artesian.

The panel discussion about rape and sexual assault will feature four guests, three of whom were part of a past podcast episode.

“Part of his goal is to address stigma,” said Kate McEvenue, a panellist and counsellor at the Regina Sexual Assault Centre.

“Hopefully having these honest conversations, it will encourage others to be a little bit more open-minded and a little bit more understanding of what a person’s life can be like, especially after a trauma.”

While her counterparts will share their personal experiences with sexual assault, McEvenue anticipates she’ll talk more from a professional perspective, offering information and advice.

According to Statistics Canada information: 1,196 sexual assaults were recorded in Saskatchewan in 2016; 95 per cent of sexual assaults are not reported to police; and, one in three women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

The grim truth of Chinese factories producing the west’s Christmas toys

From the Guardian

An investigation with the US-based NGO China Labor Watch reveals that toys including Barbie, Thomas the Tank Engine and Hot Wheels were made by staff earning as little as 86p an hour.

Overtime can run to nearly three times the legal limit. In some factories – including one producing Happy Meal toys for McDonald’s from the new DreamWorks movie Trolls – that means some are on 12-hour shifts and have to work with hazardous chemicals.

According to China Labor Watch, the world of toys may be heaven for children, but it is a world of misery for toy factory workers.

The group’s founder and executive director, Li Qiang, said: “We can’t tolerate that children’s dreams are based on workers’ nightmares, and we must fight against the unfair oppression of workers who manufacture toys.”

Undercover investigators infiltrated four factories, and the group shared wage slips and pictures with the Observer to support their findings.

The investigators said that they found workers making toys in factories supplying Disney, Mattel, Fisher-Price and McDonald’s who reported having to do more than 100 hours of overtime a month – nearly three times the legal limit in China.

Call It What It Is: Rape

From the New York Times’ Public Editor

The state of Montana doesn’t often make the national news. But it did recently when a judge there sentenced a man to just 60 days in jail after he repeatedly raped his 12-year-old daughter. In the three weeks since the sentence was issued, over 80,000 people have signed an initiative seeking to have the judge impeached.

The New York Times’s Express desk caught up to the news on Friday, but it put a headline on its story that drew its own protests: “Montana Judge Criticized for 60-Day Sentence for Man Who Has Sex With His Preteen Daughter.”

In the view of many Times readers, that was a poor attempt to sum up the story. Among them was Elizabeth DeHoff, who homed in on the problem with the headline:

“Has Sex With”? We have a word for “sex with a preteen.” That word is “rape.” This man committed incest as well, but incest (while still a crime) can be consensual when both parties are adults. Children cannot consent to any kind of sex. Newspaper headlines that fail to take note of that fact contribute to rape culture — perhaps not as directly as this judge did when he essentially let the rapist off the hook, but contribute they do. (I should know, having worked as a newspaper copy editor for many years.) Perhaps if the judge himself had thought of the defendant as a rapist, he would have handed down a more appropriate sentence.

DeHoff, of Littleton, Colo., articulates well the concerns of many of the readers who emailed me on Friday. Editors were clearly struggling with the headline, changing it five times over the course of the day. About three hours after the initial headline went up, a new one was put on the story, getting a little closer to the mark, but clunky: “Montana Judge Criticized for 60-Day Sentence for Man for Incest With Daughter, 12.” Finally, after three more tries, the headline read: “Montana Judge Is Criticized for 60-Day Incest Sentence.” (Still later, the headline was changed again, to “Outrage Follows 60-Day Sentence in Incest Case Against Father of Girl, 12.”)

Spotty Access

How a lack of rape kit services is hurting sexual assault investigations.

In Canada, sexual assault is the least likely violent crime to be reported to police, and the vast majority — 90 percent, according to Statistics Canada — are never reported.

Spotty access to rape kits is contributing to the problem: Where you live determines how easy it is to get one, how sensitively you’re treated during the process, and even whether the evidence gathered holds up in court.

Front-line workers tell VICE News that improving access to those kits — simple packages of tools used to collect evidence of sexual assault — could have a huge impact. Women, especially in British Columbia, are forced to drive hours down desolate stretches of highway to reach a hospital where the evidence can be collected.

“They turtle,” says Christine Baker, a health services manager in Squamish, BC, of women who hear they have to travel an hour down the highway in order to get a rape kit. “They crunch in and they say, ‘No, not going to do it.’”

But it’s not just the west coast. Front-line workers in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia tell VICE News that if an ambulance isn’t available, or the victim has no other way to travel, they sometimes make the journey locked in the back of a cop car.

The problem, which victims’ advocates say has a “simple fix,” often comes down to whether a community’s hospital has a freezer that locks to secure the evidence, and whether its physicians are properly trained to administer rape kits. If not, the victim has to travel to a hospital that does have these services — sometimes hours away, if a program exists in their province at all.

In North America, recent court cases have exposed how poorly the criminal justice system deals with sexual assault. This spring in Canada, protesters chanted outside the two court cases of Jian Ghomeshi, a former radio star who was charged with sexually assaulting four women. He was, in the end, acquitted on a spate of charges, while other charges were withdrawn after he issued an apology to one of his accusers.

And in the US last month, it was the judge in the Stanford rape case who drew scrutiny when he sentenced convicted rapist and swim star Brock Allen Turner to only six months in prison, though the prosecutor had asked for six years.

Better access to rape kits is one piece of the larger justice system puzzle, and front-line workers in Canada lay the blame at the feet of provincial health authorities who they say could fund better access to rape kits — but choose not to.

British Columbia is one of the worst areas for rape kit access in Canada.