A must read from PBS NewsHour. Will U.S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke and President Donald Trump take these reports of sexual harassment and assault, bullying by U.S. Forest Service supervisors and crew members seriously?
Harassment of women in the Forest Service has been a problem for years. As far back as 1972, women have joined together to file class action complaints and lawsuits about gender discrimination and sexual harassment. More recently, in 2016, a congressional hearing was held to address the problem within the Forest Service’s California workforce, which had also been the focus of previous complaints. The PBS NewsHour investigated what’s happened since then, and found the problem goes much deeper.
In interviews with 34 current and former U.S. Forest Service women, spanning 13 states, the women described a workplace that remains hostile to female employees. They complained of a pattern of gender discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment and assault by crew members and supervisors. Three women said they were raped after-hours by co-workers or interagency firefighters while working for the Forest Service. Many women alleged retaliation after reporting these incidents….
Seven of the 34 women interviewed asked to remain anonymous for fear of further retaliation. Fear was a common theme in the interviews. One woman said she went to the hospital multiple times for “her nerves” after reporting harassment. Another asked the NewsHour to destroy her interview transcript, because she became too afraid of the consequences. A third, a firefighter who resigned from her position in 2016 after she reported to police that she was raped on assignment in Montana, said: “We all live in this fear … So if I have to speak up I will. But it’s frustrating because there’s so many more out there who are not talking.”
Read the entire article here.