In a survey of media professionals in Switzerland, over half of female respondents and a tenth of males reported being the victims of harassment during their work.
The question “are you, or have you been, a victim of sexual assault or harassment during your work as a journalist?” was sent to 3,429 media professionals in Switzerland by the Tamedia group earlier this year.
Of the 755 responses received, 53% of women and 11% of men answered “yes” to the question; and if the statistics represent a rather small total number (and many respondents also remained anonymous), the extensive qualitative feedbackexternal link offers insights into the type of issues faced.
For one, female journalists at an early career stage seem particularly concerned, the results show. And in terms of those doing the harassing, it ranges from superiors and colleagues in the workplace to external figures/interview partners such as politicians and sportspeople.
The majority of complaints focused on verbal harassments such as salacious remarks, sexist comments, or sexually-charged jokes. Some 40-odd cases were also reported involving physical contact – e.g. touching of breasts, or of bums.
Cases were also reported of harassment via email or messages, while others involved non-physical acts like exhibitionism. Many cases emerged of superiors promising promotions in exchange for sexual favours.
In terms of sharing the experiences with others, many women said they had spoken of the incidents to colleagues, friends or family; a small amount said they spoke to nobody. Just 15 spoke to an external mediator or to the police.
Other, more representative surveys, carried about by bodies such as the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and Amnesty International, have shown that around 30% of women overall have reported being harassed in the workplace.