Context and Variation

Context and Variation

Human behavior, evolutionary medicine… and ladybusiness.

If You Want Normative Reporting, Reporting Needs to be Independent and Anonymous


Please forgive me for the quickie posts this week. I have bigger ones planned for the next two weeks.

I don’t have time to fully unpack this, but I think the Science Online community could stand to read this article (and the associated links therein that tell the backstory):

On Prosecutors Having Survivors of Assault Arrested: It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

The folks at #scio14 are having hushed conversation after hushed conversation about Bora and our community more broadly. I’m also hearing that there are explicit conversations about harassment policies, appropriate conduct, boundaries, and reporting. I just want to remind everyone that reporting harassment isn’t a chicken and egg issue where we can endlessly discuss which comes first: creating the supportive environment that enables reporting, or reporting itself. Yes, there will always be some folks who will decide to report in the face of all sorts of personal, career, and physical risks. But moving towards a workplace culture where reporting is normative behavior cannot happen before the workplace has safer ways of reporting and zero tolerance for bad behavior.

So I would encourage those of you at #scio14 this week to make your conversations less hushed, and to start to talk about how one might create an independent, anonymous reporting mechanism for harassment. Some of the encouragement I am hearing that people need to report feels a little victim-blame-y. If we aren’t setting the reporting mechanism up for success we can’t expect people with the least safety and the most to lose to suck it up and tell someone when they have been harassed.


The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

Email this Article