Gang Stalking World

United we stand. Divided they fall.

Fight fire with fire.

The more things change the more things stay the same. I was deeply saddened, disgusted and disturbed to find that in 2006, a female can still not enter certain fields and environments without expecting to be mobbed and harassed by her male counterparts. This is however where we are, and it seems to be getting worst not better for many woman in society. This is exactly what happened in the Vancouver fire department.

The report is that after months, and years of sexual harassment and discrimination from their male coworkers, four female fire fighters had to walk off the job because of an unbearable and hostile workplace environment that did not allow them to perform their duties due to wide spread harassment.

The reports even site that one female fire fighter the previous year had finally succored and committed suicide due to some of the harassment that was ongoing. Jocelyn Roberts had risen in her field to become a female captain in the Richmond fire department and even that was not enough to earn her the respect and dignity afforded to many individuals in lesser positions.

It is reported by her fellow female firefighters that she too was a target of discrimination inside and even outside of the workplace, including the incident where the water was turned off, while trying to fight a blaze, and also receiving harassing calls said she “got calls at 2 a.m., waking her up.”

In another case another female captain filed suit over what she says were 11 years of constant harassment by her male colleagues. She was fortunate enough to have 2 male firefighters who were willing to stand up and tell the truth, who helped her to win her case. These two individuals would later experience hostile threats and retaliation from their male coworkers and would later have to file their own suits, such is the discriminatory, hostile, male chauvinistic culture that exists in some fire departments.

In other places there are reports of racism and hazing rituals that would not be acceptable in most parts of society.

In another case because they have to share close sleeping quarters, a male firefighter climbed into the bunk of a female fire fighter, attempted to climb on top of her, and told her no one would ever know. She managed to ward him off, in that instance.

All four woman who worked in the fire department amongst 200 men, walked off the job in Vancouver, calming discrimination.

One woman pointed to several incidents that made it impossible for them to do their work. Instances such as:

-Put human feces in her boots and pants.
-Instances in which her clothing was shredded or sprayed with chemicals after her locker was broken into.
-Gloves and helmet were stolen, later turning up in another fire-hall.
-A condom filled with an unidentified fluid was left in a locker.
-Threats, obscenities and gender-specific expletives were written on her locker.
-Obscenities written on an axe handle, that described female genitalia.
-Male firefighters cut off the water supply to a hose she was using to battle a blaze.
-Displayed hard-core pornography in her presence.

One female fire fighter has filed a lawsuit siting Claims of personal injuries, nervous shock and depression because of the behaviour of her male co-workers, which she described as lewd, pornographic and even life-threatening acts of harassment against her. She said she suffered sexual harassment and discrimination.

The disappointing thing is not that this sort of harassment happens still in today’s society, it’s all too frequent and too common in every part of society, the disappointment came when it was time for this case to go to court. The judge threw out the case claiming that “the court has no jurisdiction over her complaints.”

She says not only did the fire department allow this culture of harassment to happen, but the the “city of Richmond has allowed the fire service to foster a culture of systemic discrimination and harassment of its female firefighters.”

I find this unbelievable that a judge could decide this and send her back for union arbitration, the same union who had failed to handle her numerous complaints which she says she made, and this is why she then filed the suit in the first place.

The similarities between what these woman went through and the situation in the Eveleth Mines, that caused Lois Jenson to file her claim of sexual harassment are far too striking to be over looked.

“Instead, the male miners might be awarded the world’s most chauvinistic: They openly believe that mining is “men’s work,” so they harass the women every day on the job. The forms of harassment include:

-verbal barbs,
-nasty words written on walls and machinery,
-requests for kisses,
-semen on clothing in a locker,
-being trapped and toppled in a Porta-Potty requested by the women (who need relief privately while men do so publicly),
-and ultimately physical assault.

Complaints to the management and the union are useless. Throughout the film, segments of a court case are interjected.

Eventually, after Josey ends up on the bottom in an assault, she quits the company, suffering from post-traumatic stress, and sues.”

One disturbing thing about the case in Vancouver is that in a climate of so many men, few seemed to have had the emotional quotient to openly disagree with what was happening in that culture. If the lawsuit is to be believed the culture of discrimination went from the bottom to the top, and everyone in between just turned a blind eye and allowed what was happening to continue to happen, until the remaining four woman had to walk off the job.

In this day and age when woman are continually told that they can grow up to do and to become anyone and anything they wish to be. This is true, if you work really hard, you can become anything that you wish to be, what they don’t tell woman is the discriminatory practices or the variety of harassment’s they may have to face along the way to becoming who they wish to become, and even then that might not be enough.

Where a judge decided that Lois Jensen’s case could be heard in court in 1979, a judge in 2006 feels that the courts have no jurisdiction over this sort of thing, and has sent the case back to be heard by the very people that turned a blind eye to what was happening. I think society has taken a huge step back and not forward for the betterment of woman in society, and job equality all around.

January 18, 2007 Posted by | Cultural diversity and multiculturalism, discrimination, harassment, Laws, mobbing, Politics, sexual harassment, Stalking | Leave a comment