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Scientists may be at risk of sexual harassment in the field

You love science, and you live in Texas. Good combination, right? Some people believe that isn't exactly true. Young scientists have allegedly come forward to say that they've been sexually abused in the field.

Field research is a crucial part of science, but this type of traveling can lead to danger, according to a July 17 report. In a survey of scientists who had been engaged in field research, 64 percent stated that they had personally experienced sexual harassment while on site. Another 22 percent reported that they had been victims of sexual assault.

Women were more likely to have been assaulted or harassed, and most of them were still students, including those trying to get a post-doctoral degree. Also, interestingly, it wasn't peers who were most often the perpetrators, but superiors.

Sexual violence can occur in just about any kind of workplace. In fact, around 50 percent of women say that they experienced sexual harassment at one point or another in their careers. Because field sites are far from home, this could make female scientists especially prone to harassment and abuse.

The various fields of science already have difficulty recruiting and keeping women. There are several potential reasons for this, from a lack of role models to professional demands that make it hard to have a home or family life. Sexual harassment and sexual assault complaints like those reported in this study don't help

As a person working in the field of science, you shouldn't have to worry abut sexual harassment at work. Whether you're on site or at the home office, your safety is important. Seeking justice for this kind of treatment is something that you should do. By reporting it and potentially taking legal action, those who have been assaulted or harassed may be able to prevent other people from becoming victims.

Source: Texas Public Radio, "Young Scientists Say They're Sexually Abused In The Field" Jul. 17, 2014

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