Statement Against Sexual Harassment and Assault
By Christopher Marcatili
The AAS Executive is issuing this statement of solidarity with anthropologists of all genders, and across all geographies, who are facing or have faced sexual harassment and assault in their places of work. We acknowledge with concern that this occurs in anthropology and is fostered and supported by what happens in the academy at large. We also recognise the bravery of those who have spoken out, and those who have listened and made space for them to be heard. Such violence is experienced by students and anthropologists of all ages, particularly women, LGBTQI+, ethnic minority, and First Nations anthropologists.
The issue of sexual harassment and assault is not limited to sporadic incidents committed by individuals in elite institutions. It occurs across all spaces where anthropologists work. Anthropologists face harassment whether they are working in the academy, in the field, or as consultants. This is enabled by institutional mechanisms and academic cultures of unstable employment, exploitation, hierarchical abuse of power, nepotism in hiring practices, publishing, and silencing. Problematic patronage networks empower high profile anthropologists to weaponise their influence to enact abuse and prevent it from coming to light. By ignoring abuse, maintaining silence, deliberately minimising allegations and not believing victims/survivors, anthropologists support violence and its perpetrators.
The AAS Executive recognises the long-term emotional and professional consequences of speaking out against abuse. We also recognise the equally serious consequences of being unable to speak out. We are considering concrete ways that the Society may be able to support victims and survivors of harassment and assault, and support those seeking to hold abusers to account.
We strongly urge universities and institutions to respond proactively to predatory and abusive behaviour within our academic and professional communities.
The AAS Executive acknowledges Dr. Kathleen Openshaw’s contributions in the drafting of this statement.
Readings & Resources:
Although these are for support in the field, they are useful as part of a wider strategy to address violence across all areas of our workplace.
- Backe, E L 2018. “Personalizing Access, Personalizing Praxis” in Allegralab. Retrieved from https://allegralaboratory.net/author/emmalouisebacke/?print=print-search
- Brondo, K, Bennett, L, Farner, H, Martin, C, and Mrkva, A 2009. Work Climate, Gender, and the Status of Practicing Anthropologists. Report Commissioned by the Committee on the Status of Women in Anthropology. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association.
- Dalley, C and Romano, D 2021. Discrimination and Gender-Based Harm: The Experiences of Women Anthropologists in the Native Title Sector. Report to the Attorney-General's Department. Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. Burwood, VIC: Deakin University.
- Gibbons, A and Culotta, E 2016. “Anthropologists say no to sexual harassment” in Science. Retrieve from https://www.science.org/content/article/anthropologists-say-no-sexual-harassment
- Ginsberg, D 2016. "Sexual harassment: A stubborn fact of anthropologists’ work life?" Retrieved http://s3.amazonaws.com/rdcms-aaa/files/production/public/FileDownloads/pdfs/MemberSurvey2016_Report5.pdf
- Shandy, D and Gabriela Torres, M 2021. "Rules Matter: How Can Professional Associations Remap Intracommunity Norms around Sexual Violence?" Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 47:1, 209-234. Retrieved from https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/715225
- MacKinnon, C A and Mitra D 2019, "Ask a Feminist: Sexual Harassment in the Age of #MeToo". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 44:4, 1027-1043. Retrieved from https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/702290
- Doyle, Rachel 2021. Power and Consent. Clayton, VIC: Monash University Publishing.
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