Science Day Espresso-Talk: “For a good way of working and living together at sea”

Am 05.09.2022 fand am GEOMAR erstmalig der Science Day statt. Schätzungsweise über 300 Teilnehmende nutzten die Möglichkeit ihre Arbeit in kurzen Präsentationen, Postern und Führungen allen Kolleg:innen am GEOMAR vorzustellen. Das Interesse an dem Austausch war groß und der Hörsaal bis auf den letzten Platz besetzt.

Unter den vielen wissenschaftlichen Einblicken, widmete sich der Vortrag von Kristin Hamann, einer der Gleichstellungsbeauftragten, einem anderen wichtigen Thema unserer Arbeitswelt: Prävention von sexualisierter Gewalt. Seit 2019 gibt es am GEOMAR die Initiative “Für ein gutes Miteinander auf See“, in der Präventionsmaßnahmen gegen sexualisierte Gewalt auf Forschungsschiffen entwickelt und etabliert werden.

Um für dieses Thema wachzurütteln und Aufmerksamkeit zu generieren hielt sie eine einfühlsame Rede, die im Nachgang zu vielen Gesprächen anregte.

Die Rede könnt ihr Euch hier nochmal anhören und nachlesen.

Espresso Talk am Science Day. Etwas wacklig und nicht der beste Ton – aber wir freuen uns, es mit euch teilen zu können. (Credit: Catharina Jaecke)

“When we started our Initiative “For a good Way of Working and Living together at Sea” a colleague approached me who had been on more than roughly 30 cruises. He and I have also been to some cruises together. He said to me: “I really think that this is a good idea in general, but to be honest I have never heard of sexual harassment on any of the cruises I participated in. Does it happen so often that this initiative is necessary?” Of course, it’s a funny thing to say that we shared one experience which he didn’t identify as sexual harassment.

The situation took place as follows: You know those evenings, when a shift ends and some people gather in the Hangar to grab some drinks. We were around 15 to 20 people, so quite a large number. And one of my colleagues, a female person, stood up to grab another drink (the bottles were standing on the floor). And she bent over to take one of the bottles. In that moment, a male person stood up and hit her ass really hard. Completely surprised, she jumped forward. Everybody else was laughing and enjoyed the prank.

And he was the hero in that moment because he made everybody laugh. 

But you might guess who did not feel like a hero. Who stood there frozen and felt embarrassed.

And you might think that this is a situation that other females would have laughed about or shared a laugh about. And that is ok. But it is not ok if the person feels humiliated or discriminated. Moreover, this prank is a situation where one person took the chance to make himself feel great by making another person small. And this is just one of many stories I could tell.

Sexual harassment happens everywhere in our society. A study by the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency showed that within the last three years, 13% of women and 5% of men had experienced sexual harassment at their work place. For GEOMAR, this would mean that 44 women and 20 men have experienced sexual harassment here.

Sexual harassment is one symptom of power abuse. It can destroy careers and lives.

The same study says the following: Every third to fourth person affected by sexual harassment felt moderately to very strongly threatened or powerless by the actions. A moderate to very strong feeling of shame, humiliation and psychological stress as well as a negative impact on self-esteem caused by the situations was reported by every second to third person affected, women even more often than men.

And now imagine you are on a research cruise and cannot escape the situation by simply going home.

If we talk with our friends about sexual harassment, everyone knows someone who has experienced harassment, but no one knows someone who conducts sexual harassment. And it is also quite rare that we know of people who spoke up when they observed sexual harassment.

And to change that we started the initiative “For a good Way of Working and Living together at Sea”.

If you think that this speech was inappropriate – well I think sexual harassment and power abuse are inappropriate.

If you would like to find out more, please visit our website or contact us.

And one last thing… if you have experienced or observed sexual harassment, please do not hesitate, to speak up, to seek help and talk about it. If you like, contact us.

Many thanks for listening and please take some time to read the following lines.”

Ergebnisse aus der Studie “Umgang mit sexueller Belästigung am Arbeitsplatz” der Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes. (Folie aus dem Vortrag, Kristin Hamann)
Kristin Hamann, Gleichstellungsbeauftragte (Stv.) bei ihrer Rede auf dem Science Day. (Credit: Andreas Villwock)