Westminster — august seat of the British government. Can it really be the “Palace of Sexminster?”
Survey Finds Rampant Sexual Harassment
Recent allegations of sexual harassment reaching into the highest levels of government prompted a local London TV channel to interview 70 people who work at Westminster, and the results were a bit of a shock – at least on this side of the pond.
Apparently one third of the interviewees had “personally experienced sexual harassment which they saw as an abuse of power,” while less than half “had no first or second-hand knowledge of such behaviour.” One woman said: “When I was there, older men would explore their sexuality and be predatory to younger men.”
Harassment As An Abuse Of Power
We recently blogged that “It should come as no surprise that victims of harassment are more often of relatively low status and power in the workplace. As with people victimized throughout society, they are more often the victims of this ‘power differential.’”
A UK gay rights activist Ben Summerskill said that “People are vulnerable as they’re often political obsessives and have never worked anywhere else. For both sexes the MP can say that if they oblige them, it might help their career enormously. There’s no HR [human resources], no structure for people management or supervision.”
An amazing 40% of men had been sexually harassed or knew someone who had been harassed, and Summerskill said: ‘Sexual harassment is part of the culture of Westminster. In the last decade I’ve heard of dozens of cases from men and women.”
“Grow A Pair”
One Conservative MP was dismissive of “victims” of unwanted sexual advances: he said that they should toughen up and “Grow a pair.”
Westminster Meet Washington
Good to know that lack of compliance by lawmakers with the laws that they make is not unique to Washington.