Workplace sexual harassment and the Me Too Movement

In this millennium the term Sexual Harassment is synonymous with the Me Too movement. Last month we interviewed local Sexual Harassment Lawyer, Marnie Munsterman, who works with the Renfrew County Legal Clinic. Today, let’s talk about how this movement began and how this movement became an agent for change that rippled across North America. This article also provides you with information about a Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement that could benefit those you know who have experienced sexual assault or discrimination in the Canadian Armed Forces or the Department of National Defence.

 

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Me Too Movement

The movement began in 2006 when Tarana Burke, a woman of colour in New York City, started to use the phrase Me Too to animate the voice of fellow victims of sexual harassment. (Inset  twitter) She had been raped as a child and teenager, and after graduating college in the early 2000s she began working in an all-girls program as a social worker. The public consciousness of Me Too became global when a celebrity tweeted #MeToo in 2017, to empathize with women speaking up regarding sexual abuse allegations against film producer, Harvey Weinstein. Tarana Burke became Time Person of the Year for 2017.

 

Who is at risk?

Important research between 2014 and 2017 in Canada and the US emphasized that, “factors such as age, race, disability, immigrant status, and sexual orientation all intersect and can impact risk and protective factors, as well as access to support services. Previous research indicates that disabled women, Indigenous women, girls and young women, lesbian and bisexual women, and gay and bisexual men are more at risk of experiencing violence.” (Scroll down for links to research.)

Canadian women in a broad cross section of workplaces publicly declared their common experience with sexual harassment and discrimination. CBC News published #MeToo stories from the following: (Scroll down for link.) 

  • Classical violinist: “I was abused at 14 by my violin teacher”
  • Former construction worker: “I was fired after refusing to sleep with my boss”
  • Former server in sports bar: “ I was sexually harassed and assaulted as a waitress”

 

Imbalance of power

During our recent interview, Munsterman talked about how most sexual harassment cases involve an imbalance of power in relation to position and age differences. A prime example of this was the class action law suit filed against the federal government between 2016 -2017 by former members of the military. Their suit was successful and a Sexual Misconduct Class Action Settlement was approved in November 2019.

 

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Image: caf-dndsexualmisconductclassaction.ca

Compensation for sexual harassment while in the services

If you know someone or, “you have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination based on your sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces or while employed for the Department of National Defence or for the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces, you may be eligible for a compensation from this class action settlement”

Click HERE for information:  https://www.caf-dndsexualmisconductclassaction.ca/

 

Editor’s Note: For further background please see the following links:

 

 

Image at top lum3n on pexels

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