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223 women in US national security speak out against sexual harassment

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-11-29 09:30


223 women in US national security speak out against sexual harassment

Participants rally outside CNN's Hollywood studios on Sunset Boulevard to take a stand against sexual assault and harassment for the #MeToo March in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles, Nov 12, 2017. [Photo/IC]


WASHINGTON - As many as 223 American women working in the national security field spoke out on Tuesday that they have survived sexual harassment and assault or know others who are victims.

"We, Too, Are Survivors," they said in a joint letter, which was first published by the Time on its website, calling for the upgrade of sexual harassment reporting, mandatory training and outside data collection on how often the sexual misconduct occurs.

"This is not just a problem in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, newsrooms or Congress," reads the letter, signed by current and former US diplomats, civil servants, service members and development workers. 

"These abuses are born of imbalances of power and environments that permit such practices while silencing and shaming their survivors." the letter reads.

While the signers acknowledge that the institutions where they are, including the Pentagon, the US State Department, USAID, US Homeland Security, as well as the US intelligence community and National Security Council, all have sexual harassment policies, they argue "these policies are weak, under-enforced, and can favor perpetrators."

The sexual assault "is the progression of the same behaviors that permit us to be denigrated, interrupted, shut out, and shut up," they went on, condemning those men who "use their power to assault at one end of the spectrum and perpetuate -- sometimes unconsciously -- environments that silence, demean, belittle or neglect women at the other."

The "#Me Too" movement, which is aimed at exposing sexual misconduct and supporting victims, has sprung up on social networks since mid October following explosive reports about Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's years of abusive behavior.

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