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Survey Says Sexual Harassment Faced By 68% Of Flight Attendants

Survey Says Sexual Harassment Faced By 68% Of Flight Attendants
A survey by the Association of Flight Attendants has claimed that most flight attendants have to face incidents of sexual harassment by passengers.
At least 68% of flight attendants have had to face incidents of sexual harassment during their flying careers, found the survey which is the frit that has bene carried out by the union of flight attendants.
Within the last one-year, verbal sexual harassment from passengers have been faced by at least over a third of survey respondents. And among that group, 68% opined that they have had to face such experiences three or more times while one third said that such incidents had taken place five or more times.
"This is a silent epidemic in our country," AFA president Sara Nelson, who's been a flight attendant for 23 years, told the media. "This is an industry that is steeped in a sexist past. The airlines for a very long time sold tickets based on defining air travel in a sexual way and oftentimes flight attendants were the object of that."
"Nasty," "dirty" and "unwanted" were the description that the flight attendants used to describe the verbal harassments. Requests of pornographic videos and pictures, relating their sexual fantasies and propositioning flight attendants by passengers were among the experiences.
Such harassments took place "despite the prevalence of abuse and the emergence of the #MeTooMovement – a movement that seeks to end incidents of sexual harassment and assault, says the survey.
"I used to get cornered in the back galley and asked what my hottest layover was," said Nelson. "When I started flying I used to get asked if I was a member of the mile high club. That was a common quip from a passenger."
Experiences of physical sexual harassment were faced by 18% of the survey respondents within the last one year and among that group, 40% said it happened three or more times.
The respondents described the physical sexual harassment as being "groped," "grabbed" and "slapped," either below or above their uniforms. They were hugged, kissed or "humped" or were followed, cornered or lunged at, some of the respondents said.
Because "we can't do that as victims ourselves" therefore the role of attendants’ as first responders was interfered to by the harassment, Nelson said.
Reporting of such incidents to their employers was actually done by only 7% of the survey respondents. The survey also found that 68% of the respondents found that their employers did nothing to address the abuse.
Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines were credited with having "led the industry in addressing this issue" by the AFA.
Denouncement of sexual harassment and announcement of zero tolerance policies were made in open letters by the CEOs for the three airlines, said Nelson, who is an employee of United.
In a statement, Alaska Airlines said "We appreciate the partnership with the AFA, law enforcement and experts to do our part in addressing this pervasive societal issue." There were no immediate comments available from Spirit and United on the issue.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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