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Scenario-Based Bystander Training to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Assault in Field Settings

March 31, 2021 at 3:45pm4:45pm EDT

Virtual (See event details)

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Presenter: Melissa Cronin, UC Santa Cruz

Fieldwork is an essential component of training and research in many scientific disciplines. However, the imbalanced power structure of academia coupled with the remote and informal nature of field sites heightens risks of sexual harassment and assault during fieldwork, especially for women and other at-risk groups. Limited existing research suggests that incidents are widespread and insufficiently addressed by protocols developed for office and classroom settings. To address this problem, we developed a 90-minute, scenario-based bystander training, tailored for audiences of undergraduate students, graduate students, staff, researchers, and faculty. Our workshop identifies key, easily implemented preparation and intervention practices and policies to reduce the risk of sexual harassment and assault and to set inclusive norms for field settings. Participants engage in interactive situational response training, working through scenarios to gain better understanding and anticipation of potential situations in the field. More than 600 participants at four institutions and six scientific gatherings have received our training. Participants completing pre-/post-training surveys report increases in their knowledge about and confidence in preventing, intervening in, and reporting sexual harassment and assault in field settings. Finally, to expand our program’s reach, we trained a cohort of 28 new certified trainers, who have been independently certified by the University of California Search Results Field Research Safety Center of Excellence, to deliver the training to unique audiences. Through this work, we have identified preventive institutional policies that universities and STEM departments can implement to eliminate harassment and assault in field settings, and to ensure equity and inclusion for a new generation of field scientists.

This presentation is part of the Women in Scientific and Environmental Professions (WiSE Professions) Speaker Series.

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This event was published on March 19, 2021.

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