Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 12:44 pm
Many young scientists dream of their first trip to a remote research site — who wouldn't want to hang out with chimps like Jane Goodall, or sail to the Galapagos like Charles Darwin, exploring the world and advancing science?
But for many scientists, field research can endanger their health and safety.
In a survey of scientists engaged in field research, the majority — 64 percent — said they had personally experienced sexual harassment while at a field site, and 22 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.
A sexual harassment lawsuit against an Eastern Washington farm came under scrutiny this week during a congressional hearing. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently lost this expensive, high-profile case and some Congress members are now asking, “Was it worth it?”
In her green minivan, Angelica Villa navigates the farm roads north of Bellingham like a seasoned tour guide. She points out a cannery, a potato plant and miles of berry fields. Villa previously worked at many of these places and she rattles off story after story about harassment on the job.