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Tarana J Burke - Me Too founder

Tarana J Burke is the founder of this vital and growing movement and has been working for decades to end sexual violence.The movement has exposed the ugly truths of sexism, has spoken truth to power, has increased access to resources and support for survivors, and has paved the way forward for an expanding and inclusive movement.

Read more: Literature scan on workplace sexual harassment

The Ministry for Women commissioned this literature scan to inform discussion. The findings included in this report do not represent government policy. The Ministry for Women (the Ministry) is contributing to cross-agency work on preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the workplace. The Ministry has commissioned this literature scan to inform that work. 


25. This scan began as a search for international best practices in preventing and/or responding to sexual harassment in the workplace. The literature suggests that well- intentioned good practice, such as mandatory policies about and complaints procedures for dealing with sexual harassment, are ineffective if they are not well implemented, monitored and evaluated and if the culture of workplaces is unsupportive. Strong leadership, inclusive policy development and proactive role-modelling from senior staff need to sit alongside the promotion of respectful relationships throughout the organisation.                                 
26. Sexual harassment in the workplace does not occur in isolation. It is facilitated by communities and workplaces that tolerate such behaviour. Sexual harassment at work can be seen in the wider context of anti-violence activity, gender equality initiatives and acceptance of more flexible gender roles for both men and women. 

27. The literature agrees that sexual harassment can have severe and lasting consequences for victims, harassers, bystanders and others in the workplace, physically, emotionally and mentally as well as economically and in terms of career development. There was little positive evidence of ongoing support for those affected. Indeed, those who raised concerns were often ignored, or had their cases dismissed, adding to their distress.

28. There is a growing awareness of the intersectionality of violence. It happens in different settings—at home, at work and in public places—and some groups are more at risk than others because of their ethnicity, gender, sexuality or physical or mental abilities. 

29. Governments and organisations internationally have taken steps to improve their response. These include: organisational surveys; a national inquiry; new training approaches focusing on respectful relationships; new partnerships between government, employers, trade unions and NGOs; new gender equity agencies; accredited businesses; an advocacy toolkit; and social media campaigns and union-led initiatives. 

30. A multi-pronged approach is the most effective in changing attitudes, as well as behaviour. This means collecting better information and building on the activities and strategies that the government, employer organisations, professional bodies, trade unions and national and local anti-violence organisations already have in place. 

What can we do to end sexual violence? 

Every day many of us go through a mental checklist of questions to protect ourselves from judgement, harassment, assault, rape, or worse, writes Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo

How common is female perpetrator sexual harassment? 

(*Excerpts taken from “Verywell Mind” –

What Is Same-Sex Sexual Harassment?


Read more: Overcoming harassment, bullying and intimidating behaviour at workplaces

*Excerpt taken from HRNZ website;
Bullying and harassment at work are recognised as major problems for employees and employers alike. A recent study by CultureSafe NZ showed New Zealand has the second-worst rate of workplace bullying in the developed world, with one in five workers afflicted.

How common is female perpetrator sexual harassment? 

(*Excerpts taken from “Verywell Mind” –

What Is Same-Sex Sexual Harassment?

Read more - What is Same-Sex Sexual Harassment?

When most people think about sexual harassment in the workplace, they envision a man harassing a woman. But there are cases where women harass women, men harass men, and women harass men. In fact, the law prohibits sexual harassment by either men or women against people of the same and opposite gender.1
Sexual harassment falls under Title VII, which is a law against sexual discrimination in the workplace. It occurs when someone engages in unwelcome sexual conduct in the workplace that affects you, your job, the work environment, as well as others in the workplace.
Under the law, there are two types of sexual harassment claims:
1. Quid pro quo claims
2. Hostile environment claims
With quid pro quo claims, a supervisor or someone with authority over an employee requests or implies an unwelcome sexual demand in exchange for something on the job, such as getting a promotion or not being fired. Meanwhile, a hostile environment occurs when the environment at work becomes intimidating or offensive because of sexual actions and comments. Examples might include sexual jokes and comments, sexual bullying, lewd remarks, demeaning pictures, and unwanted sexting.

Why Don't People Report Same-Sex Sexual Harassment? 
Most researchers suggest that the actual number of people who have experienced same-sex sexual harassment is likely higher than what is currently being reported.3 In fact, it is extremely difficult to measure how frequently it occurs in the workplace because people often never file a complaint. 
Aside from the fact that it is difficult to report and prove, victims of sexual harassment often worry that they are somehow to blame for the unwelcome sexual advances.4 What's more, they worry about what others will think of them if they do file a report, especially when the harasser is the same gender. They are often riddled with embarrassment and shame over what is happening to them.
Another reason for failing to report sexual harassment includes fear of retaliation. Research has found that sexual harassment is often ignored or trivialized by management within organizations.5 Additionally, when victims do say something about the treatment or ask that it stop, they are often met with hostility and accusations.
Experts expect to see a rise in the number of same-sex sexual harassment complaints as employees become more empowered. In general, people are more willing to stand up to others and point out that their civil rights have been violated.

How Often It Occurs 
According to a 2015 survey, one out of three women between the ages of 18 and 34 experiences sexual harassment at work.8 Of those women, 81% of them have experienced verbal harassment, 44% have received sexual advances and unwanted touching, and 25% have dealt with lewd texts or emails. Meanwhile, 75% of women were harassed by male co-workers and 10% by female co-workers. 
Yet, very few women are reporting the abuse. In fact, 71% of women say that they never reported the sexual harassment they endured at work. And of the 29% who did report the harassment, only 15% felt it was handled properly. 
For those who work to educate others about sexual harassment prevention, these figures are particularly disappointing—especially considering that the Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that 70% of employers provide sexual harassment training and 98% of companies have sexual harassment policies.5

Why Do People Blame the Victim?

Why Women Are Blamed for Being Sexually Harassed: The Effects of Empathy for Female Victims and Male Perpetrators

The #MeToo movement has highlighted the widespread problem of men’s sexual harassment of women. Women are typically reluctant to make a sexual-harassment complaint and often encounter victim-blaming attitudes when they do, especially from men.

Challenging Victim-Blaming

Victim-blaming is the tendency to view victims as responsible for the violent acts perpetuated against them. Victim-blaming implies the fault for events such as domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, and other acts of violence lies with the victim rather than the perpetrator. Common negative social reactions include anger, disbelief or scepticism , implicit or explicit blame, and even the refusal of assistance for victims seeking help. Victim blaming also takes many forms and can be quite subtle.

Blaming the victim is a phenomenon in which victims of crimes or tragedies are held accountable for what happened to them. Victim blaming allows people to believe that such events could never happen to them. Blaming the victim is known to occur in rape and sexual assault cases, where the victim of the crime is often accused of inviting the attack due to her clothing or behavior.

Bullying is an all-too-common workplace issue. And if reports are correct, it seems to be on the rise.

 Blame and Shame Game - the psychology of it.

Below are links to information to help explain the blame and shame game of workplace sexual harassment. This is often associated with disclosures and the following victimisation that can follow for disclosure champions ( Much preferred word than "victims.") 
The following links are there to explain where the victimisation can come from, who perpetuates it, why, and how to navigate it.  Company lawyers and company HR personnel and managers use it to try to deflect from their own shame and have no commitment to owning their abusive behavior. Further abuse can come from the community victims live in or family members or friends.  This can leave disclosure victims struggling to comprehend this lack of justice. 
Feel free to read the following links to try to understand it, then the final summary to further understand that the abusers will never admit to their misdoings and that the best thing is to just move on and not try to understand. Don't engage with the people you know are going to judge you, and if you have to associate with them, be prepared for their judgment and say to yourself...
" Yes they are narcissists, yeah that I'm not like that. "
Victims of workplace sexual harassment are often blamed by lawyers and companies for their own harassment. Forbes reports that some of the arguments used against victims include that they were not harassed, that they were not harassed enough to warrant a complaint, that they were not harassed by the person they are accusing, or that the harassment was consensual.

1/ 'I feel so much shame': inquiry reveals huge extent of workplace harassment

To mark International Women’s Day, Australian rights commission details hundreds of submissions detailing everyday nature of behaviour ranging from sexual assault to casual sexism


'I feel so much shame': inquiry reveals huge extent of workplace harassment | International Women's Day | The Guardian


Excerpts below taken from above link; 

"Complaints processes that are intended to protect victims end up ostracising them further. Those who reported harassment said they eventually left or were pushed out of the company, while perpetrators remained.

In many cases, victims revealed they were no longer able to work at all.

“Sexual harassment can cause such high levels of fear, depression and anxiety that for a number of our clients they could no longer work or even leave their home.”

Similar stories were told to the AHRC inquiry."

2/ These Arguments Are Often Used Against Victims Of Workplace Harassment.

These Arguments Are Often Used Against Victims Of Workplace Harassment. Male Allies Can Help. (

Excerpts below taken from above link; 

"If you wish to be ally and help combat this issue, you first need to avoid claiming false meritocracy or deny that sexual harassment can exist in your workplace. You can also strongly discourage the following arguments, commonly used to undermine and deflect from the main issue. 

Many HR departments are not supportive and focus on avoiding legal action at any cost."

The "she asked for it" argument.

The "why did it take so long to report it" argument.

The "#MeToo has made it difficult for men" argument.

The "not all men" argument.

The "but men are victims too" argument.


3/ Link below from a  senior sexual assault counsellor working with Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

I’m a sexual assault counsellor. Here’s why it’s so hard for survivors to come forward, and what happens when they do

Excerpts below taken from above link; 

It's impossible to be 'the model victim'

"In Australian society, we often expect sexual assault survivors to show just enough emotion for us to believe them, but not so much they seem hysterical or attention-seeking.

The Goldilocks dilemma of being the perfect victim or survivor is extraordinarily difficult to navigate.

When a disclosure is met with negative responses, it can lead to feelings of shame for survivors.

Survivors who experience negative social reactions after coming forward are more likely to have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)."

'They fear that they won't be believed'

"Perhaps illuminating why so many victims don't come forward, the survey revealed one in five people who made a formal report or complaint were labelled as a troublemaker (19 per cent), were ostracised, victimised or ignored by colleagues (18 per cent) or resigned (17 per cent)."

"People who experience sexual harassment are often reticent to come forward, she says, because they're concerned about "career penalties or other reprisals that might come their way".

They're often reluctant to be seen as a victim or as vulnerable, they fear that they won't be believed, they expect that not much will be done that there'll be no action, and they worry about a lack of confidentiality," McDonald tells ABC News."

4/ The below links are about victim blaming psychological violence

Victim Blaming Manipulation, A Form of Psychological Violence

Victim Blaming Manipulation, A Form of Psychological Violence - (

Psychological Manipulation Techniques You May Be a Victim Of

Psychological Manipulation Techniques You May Be a Victim Of - Exploring your mind

Psychological Manipulation Techniques You May Be a Victim Of

Beware of Victim-Blaming by Counselors, Therapists, and Recovery Coaches | by Suzanna Quintana | The Virago | Medium

Victim Blaming

What Is Victim Blaming: How to Overcome Avoid Victim Blaming (


Excerpts below taken from above link; 

"The main reason victims get in fights or arguments with abusers is because the abusers cause the problem in the first place by saying or doing something that engenders a negative emotional reaction in the other person. He/she may be rude, hurtful, hostile, or act in some other relationship-destroying manner. It takes superhuman strength to keep from being triggered by the anger-provoking tactics of an abusive or manipulative person.

Once you’ve been triggered by the abuser, you may make one small mistake in speaking, or you may even commit the heinous crime of yelling back and defending yourself! Heaven forbid you have a reaction to a hostile instigation!

And once you do react supposedly inappropriately you just gave the abuser a gift. He/she can now capitalize on your reaction and use it as the evidence that the problem resides with you.

Don’t take the bait. Literally. Think of your abuser’s accusations and blame-shifting as fish hooks for you (the fish) to grab on to. As hard as it may be not to defend yourself in any way, you should refrain. Simply have an internal dialogue. Tell yourself the following: “He/she is trying to manipulate me into a fight. Don’t react. Breathe. Walk away.

Remind yourself to stop engaging in the debate. You don’t have to defend yourself because you didn’t do anything wrong. Remind yourself of that. Even if you did react, give yourself a pass. Remind yourself that to react to an attack is a normal human response and that it sometimes takes extraordinary strength not to. In this case, give yourself a break."

Guilt Trips: Forms of Psychological Manipulation & Abuse

Guilt trips are carefully crafted forms of psychological manipulation and abuse. They can take place using passive, passive-aggressive, or aggressive tactics. The purpose is to make the intended target feel contrite or ashamed, even when they shouldn’t be. It’s an attempt to make something the target’s fault or responsibility.
Some people use guilt trips because it’s a habit they picked up from others and never learned it was wrong. And some people do it because they’re toxic and manipulative. At the core, guilt trips are used to induce guilt to act against their better judgment, absolve the guilt-tripper from personal responsibility, or make the target feel obligated to do things they aren’t obligated to do.
Any kind of manipulation, control, guilt-tripping, gaslighting, or abuse is NEVER good for your life.

What to Do About Guilt Trips

1) Set some healthy boundaries. Don’t feel obligated to do what they want or apologize for something that was not your fault. Instead, assertively communicate with them. Let them know you don’t accept the blame for something not in your control or responsibility.

2) Don’t receive their guilt trip just because they want you to feel bad. You have every right to protect your emotional and mental health from that kind of attack. If the guilt-tripper doesn’t stop, it’s time to limit their access to you. Also, set limits on your responsibilities to others.

3) If you are on the receiving end of guilt trips, this can easily turn into codependent behavior and allowing yourself to be manipulated and controlled. There is a bad element that is at work behind manipulation and control. It's vital to get free from any generational bad energy that you have come into agreement with or allowed giving the enemy a legal right to operate in your life. This is why so many of us continue to cry out for help , yet find ourselves repeating unhealthy relationship patterns.

Set yourself goals

The great news is that you can be free. You can be set free from every destructive cycle in your life , slowly one negative person or situation at at a time.
Set yourself goals of who, or what the negative elements are in your life, and make a decision about how to eliminate this from your life , or limit the access that this person / these people / situations have with you.

Surround yourself with the people , friends, situations that treat you well and are kind , empathetic and understanding. Stay in contact with your support group , via email ,texts, phone calls , if they are not immediate to where you live . Do what ever it takes to stay in touch with the people who make you feel good and pick you up , instead of putting you down.

Sometimes people that have been abused can become abusers themselves, so understand your " enemy" , understand why they may be abusing you. This can help you navagate their negative actions, words and behaviours towards you. It may be that they have been emersed in a hatred inciting environment themselves, so do not know any better behaviour. It may be that they have come from abusive homes, relationships themselves and it is a generational behaviour they have learnt.

You don't need this in your life. If they will not change , then remove them from your life. If the culture you are surrounded with will not change , then know you are better than them and don't stoop to their level. If you can , leave the toxic environment or simply ignore the people that cause you harm and limit their access to you.

Male workplace sexual harassment

Many men are sexually harassed in the workplace – so why aren’t they speaking out? (excerpt taken from “The Conversation”)

AMHF Australian Men’s Health Forum

PLBSH California Law Firm

The Center for American Progress

The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan , non – profit policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action. Our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change the country.

The Washington Post

Personnel Today

How common is female perpetrator sexual harassment? 

(*Excerpts taken from “Verywell Mind” –

What Is Same-Sex Sexual Harassment?

Russell McVeagh workplace sexual harrassment status update 

#Metoo: Law firms to report back on handling of sexual harassment Tom Hunt15:02, Jun 04 2020
Law firms will be required to report back each year on how they are handling sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace, under proposed changes in the wake of the #MeToo scandal. news - #MetooNZ  links

We need to talk about laws dirty little secret -

Domestic Abuse Resources

The Recovery Village

The signs associated with domestic abuse can be behavioral or physical. It’s important to be aware of both, whether you’re the one in the abusive relationship or are concerned for a friend or family member. Despite the physical and psychological effects of abuse, some victims deny they’re being abused at all, or may not realize they are being mistreated. Others are well aware, or they may suspect they’re in the beginning stages of a domestic violence situation, but they’re unsure how to escape.

Shine - making homes violence free in NZ

Founded in 1990, Shine is New Zealand’s leading specialist domestic violence service provider. Shine is an acronym that stands for Safer Homes in New Zealand Everyday. This name – and our aims in addressing the scourge of domestic violence – are hopeful, positive and optimistic. We want people to feel that there is some light shining on a terrible problem in New Zealand and that some brightness is ahead.

Eclipse Family Violence Service Ltd New Zealand

ECLIPSE FAMILY VIOLENCE SERVICES has developed in response to a recognised need for targeted and informed specialist family violence training with a combination of victim survivor lived experience and specialist sectoral knowledge to support and develop family violence response staff.

Women's Refuge New Zealand

New Zealand’s largest nation-wide organisation that supports and helps women and children experiencing family violence.

Sexual Assault Safety While Traveling - Mahoney Law Firm 

Understanding where sexual assault can occur can help travelers avoid falling prey to sexual predators. Sexual assault can occur in hotel rooms, gas stations, and rest stops, aboard cruise ships, and while traveling abroad. It can happen to those traveling for business or pleasure. Learn what to do to protect yourself while traveling.

Are you ok? Family Violence NZ

Steps and support for safety for you and your whānau whenever you’re ready.