Whispers from the Bush: The Workplace Sexual Harassment of Australian Rural Women

Whispers from the Bush: The Workplace Sexual Harassment of Australian Rural Women

by Skye Saunders


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Whispers from the Bush: The Workplace Sexual Harassment of Australian Rural Women by Skye Saunders

I had to ask for access to a bathroom once a month because I had my period! So eventually instead of access to a bathroom, they got me access to a Toyota so that I could drive away to a toilet. So the entire crew knew exactly when I was cycling every single month. And...they used to piss in the connecting pipes for me to discover when I got back from the drive. And looking back on it now I also realise that the blokes were also pissing on my boots when I was gone - I see now but at the time I was just so confused and baffled by it all." Female miner, aged 21

Australian women are enduring a cultural epidemic of workplace sexual harassment in remote and rural workplaces - the experience is rife, rampant and as hard to contain as any infectious disease. Whispers from the Bush - The Workplace Sexual Harassment of Australian Rural Women is the first book to focus upon the nature, pervasiveness and reporting of sexual harassment in rural Australian workplaces. Drawing upon 107 interviews conducted with rurally located employees and employers about their experiences and observations of sexual harassment at work, it shines a light upon a phenomenon largely hidden or minimised by silence, distance and an atmosphere of 'saturated masculinity'. The book seeks to give voice to the 'whispers from the bush' by exploring themes such as:

  • the impact of male dominance and mateship on the nature and prevalence of sexual harassment within the rural workplace;
  • the complex survival behaviours adopted by many rural women in response to sexual harassment as it occurs - most surprisingly, extending to women blaming women;
  • rural employee and employer attitudes towards the disclosure of sexual harassment; and
  • the limited reach and effectiveness of laws against sexual harassment in rural Australia.
  • The book concludes by making practical recommendations for the commencement of national dialogue about sexual harassment in rural Australia, towards a cultural adoption of zero-tolerance.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781760020385
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/28/2015
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.25(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Dr Skye Saunders is an academic at the Australian National University (ANU).

Table of Contents

1. Reduced to Silence
2. Listening to the Distant Whispers
3. The Dramatic Backdrop of the Bush and Gendered Harm Within It
4. 'It's All A Bit Different Out 'Ere...': Special Characteristics of the Bush and Their Effect on Reporting Rates
5. 'When the Boys Come Out to Play'' Sexual Harassment and the Impact of Male-dominated Working Environments
6. 'So Help Me, God ...' A Comparison of (Un)Successfully Litigated Sexual Harassment Complaints from Rural and Urban Australia
7. 'Fit In or F#$@ Off!' The (Non) Reporting of Sexual Harassment in Rural Workplaces
8. 'Just the Boys Havin' Fun!' The Nature, Pervasiveness and Manifestations of Sexual Harassment in Rural Australia
9. 'Stripping Off the Layers...' Sexual Harassment 'Survival' Behaviours in Rural Australian Workplaces
10. 'A New "Coo-ee"'! - An Australian Bush Transformation
11. Conclusion: 'From Whispers from the Bush to Voices of Hope'

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