The media industry provides many work opportunities for women. Still, a recent volunteer survey of the industry worldwide shows that sexual harassment and other crimes continue to plague those in this industry. So what is going on, and can it be changed?
Types of Abuse Women Experience
A recent study by International Media Support (IMS) examined the discrepancy in sexual violence and crimes that occur against women journalists versus men. The differences were staggering. On November 2, International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, this report emerged across four different continents and found that the atmosphere around the world for female journalists is grim.
The study found that women in media experienced significantly lower pay, longer working hours, much worse online harassment, and even at-work problems. These issues were tied to sexual elements and often included sexual harassment, not just from people angry about the journalists but also from their co-workers.
The exact number of women who have experienced this type of harassment is very high and nearly impossible to calculate fully. However, some estimate that over 75% of all women in the media industry have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. This unfortunate situation makes it very hard for them to volunteer info about their case and may cause PTSD and other emotional difficulties.
What is Happening Here?
The media industry is often filled with people heavily worried about their appearance and how others view them. And many of these individuals feel emboldened because they may be necessary to a company – in their mind, too vital to a company to be prosecuted. Or they may simply be a megalomaniac and believe that every woman around them is interested and attempt to pursue them as a result.
Unfortunately, the culture in the media world is still so heavily focused on male power and female beauty that it can be hard to pursue these cases. Women are often valued more for their looks and made to feel unimportant otherwise. This toxic culture often creates a high potential for sexual harassment, especially if lax guidelines and laws make it easier to commit these crimes.
For instance, state laws often provide little help for women suffering from this problem. For example, in Pennsylvania, victims of sexual assault cannot file a criminal suit – instead, they have to file a civil complaint. In other words, sexual harassment is not considered a crime in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, this type of legal situation often encourages assailants to continue their behavior and even intensify it.
Unfortunately, this problem is also tied to potential negligence on the part of the employer. Unfortunately, many media companies don’t want to highlight or prosecute these problems due to the high-profile nature of many of their employees. As a result, they may hide these claims, bully women into dropping them or simply ignore them. These behaviors fall under the two degrees of negligence: simple and gross.
In this atmosphere, it’s no wonder that so many crimes of this type go unreported and that many abusers believe that it is their right to behave in this way. Some may even think that their victims ‘enjoy’ being harassed or are just being shy or ‘coy’ about their advances. This negligence is criminal in and of itself
And if you’re one of the 80% of millennial new employees worrying about company culture and how well you’ll fit in, you aren’t alone. Unfortunately, too many women in the media industry find themselves struggling to adapt to aggressive and demeaning company cultures, particularly in the media industry.
And the only thing that can be done about it is volunteer information about these cases and persistently pursue legal ramifications against those who commit these crimes. In this way, a better legal environment can be created to make it easier for women to get recourse for this issue.