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Shockwaves: The Global Impact of Sexual Harassment

Shockwaves: The Global Impact of Sexual Harassment is a book that addresses the most important questions about sexual harassment and is for everyone who needs to know what's going on with the problem today in the U.S. and other countries of the world. It analyzes sexual harassment issues with the depth and breadth that only years of experience working in the field can provide.

Shockwaves examines sexual harassment in every kind of workplace and in scores of countries. According to Susan Webb, the author, sexual harassment has grown from a "storm that hurts us all," to what is now a "firestorm of controversy between men and women raging in almost every country in the world...its reverberations are now global." 1st Edition, 1994.

Shockwaves Contents


Chapter 1 - Initial Impact: The Click Heard 'Round the World

Chapter 2 - Revisiting Sexual Harassment: What Is It?

Chapter 3 - First Shockwaves: The State of Sexual Harassment Worldwide

Chapter 4 - Second Shockwaves: International Understanding and Action

Chapter 5 - Global Reverberations: Country by Country

Chapter 6 - Pushing the Limits in the United States

Chapter 7 - Sexual Harassment in U.S. Industries

Chapter 8 - Young People, Schools and Education

Chapter 9 - What Can Be Done?

Chapter 10 - Final Thoughts: Is the End In Sight?



EXCERPT: I was on a flight back from New York to Seattle and I had already told the flight attendant that I was not a particularly good flyer and asked her to please keep an eye on me or check with me once in a while to see how I was doing. She said "fine" and came by every so often to chat. About half way through the flight the captain came out of the cockpit and we met--I was standing near the galley up front, ahead of the first class section. He laughed and said he'd heard I didn't fly too well and that dancing might take my mind off it (though at this point I was doing fine). He then proceeded to take me loosely in his arms and dance me around the small open area directly behind the cockpit, but in front of all the passengers. After asking me what I did for a living that required I travel so much, and my telling him that I was a sexual harassment consultant, he decided to tell me and the two female flight attendants standing with us several off-color jokes.

The three of us women smiled politely, admittedly in shock, and the captain went back into the cockpit. None of us could believe what had just happened--we said as much to each other, shook our heads in wonder, and I returned to my seat. Here certainly was a man who "didn't get it." Obviously, the definition of sexual harassment and appropriate and inappropriate behavior is still quite misunderstood. I honestly think that this man had no malicious intent, but what on earth was he thinking (or was he thinking at all)?

To make matters worse, the problem is just as confused and muddled in other countries of the world as in the U.S. Consider these examples:

  • From Cambodia: where United Nations peacekeepers were accused by women there of sexual harassment, the women saying, in a letter to the head of the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia "We...feel a sense of outrage at the unacceptable behavior of some male UNTAC personnel...Sexual harassment occurs regularly in public restaurants, hotels and bars, banks, markets and shops to the point where many women feel highly intimidated." The peacekeeping group included 175 people, mostly Western or Cambodian women working for aid organizations.
  • From Canada: where one survey showed that four out of ten women reported being sexually harassed at work and eight percent of women reported sexual harassment or abuse by their doctors; where in response to these issues, the Canadian government established a commission to inquire into violence against women, set up a gender sensitivity program for judges to attend, and began to revamp obscenity laws to define obscenity as that which subordinates, degrades, or dehumanizes women.
  • From Japan: where a survey showed that 70% of the women reported experiencing "seku-hara" at work and said their primary complaint was the "failure to be recognized as full human beings"; where 90% said that they were sexually harassed on the way to and from work;
  • From France: where under a new criminal code a man was sentenced to a year in jail for physically sexually harassing his female subordinate; where a recent survey indicating that 21% of the women responding said they had been sexually harassed was challenged by women who said that in France, sexual harassment is seen as normal behavior, thus the numbers were far too low; where some women said they would not even consider it sexual harassment if they were asked to take their clothes off during a job interview.

According to a survey of 23 countries by the International Labor Organization, sexual harassment is a major problem for women of the world. While the ILO says that labor laws offer the best remedy for stopping sexual harassment in the workplace, the report goes on to say that only seven of the countries--Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, and the United States--have laws mentioning sexual harassment, with six of the countries--Australia, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States--defining sexual harassment by judicial decision. In its 300-page report, the ILO said awareness of sexual harassment has come a long way in a relatively short period of time with the U.S. in the legal and judicial forefront, but its findings also show there is still much to be done.

"As a columnist, I've written about sexual harassment for more than ten years. This is the most thorough discussion of its global pervasiveness that I've seen. Shockwaves documents in appalling detail the harassment of women in every country, of every color, and every economic class. Sisterhood is global, and so is sexual harassment. This book is a major indictment of how we raise boys and girls to be enemies, and why we must start raising them differently." Judy Mann, Washington Post columnist

"Sexual harassment is often identified as a U.S. issue. Susan Webb's research reveals that it is pervasive throughout the world and that it is a direct result of an effort to exercise power and influence. Susan Webb has brought a glaring light to an issue that will enable women globally to speak out against this form of injustice and discrimination." Ronald M. Shane, Manager, Human Resources Policies & Practices, Avon Products, Inc.

"Shockwaves provides clear, concise, action oriented concepts to help ensure sexual harassment comes to an end around the world. Outstanding!" Eleanor Sebastian, United Nations Center on Transitional Corporations

"Webb provides a multitude of valuable insights on how pervasive sexual harassment is throughout the world--and how responsible organizations can help end this dehumanizing behavior." Lawrence P. Holleran, Vice President of Human Resources, FMC Corporation

"Susan L. Webb's book teaches with power, conviction, and feeling. Many books on harassment miss what is the most powerful aspect of Webb's book, 'What do I need to do?' As a trainer, I find this book to be a significant addition to my library." James O. Baxter, Training Supervisor, Alcoa Aluminum Wenatchee Works.

ISBN: 0942361903 & ISBN: 0942361911, PAGES: 434, Hardback $19.95, Paperback $11.95


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