NEW ZEALAND POLICE TALK ABOUT SEXUAL HARRASSMENT CULTURE
In a brave story today, sexual harassment was what the NZ Police were discussing on the news.
So what does “sexual harassment mean?” It means “unwelcome sexual advances made by an employer or superior, especially when compliance is made a condition of continued employment or advancement.
Let me talk of that from life in another nation.
Rewind: Month eighth living in Los Angeles, I got mugged while waiting at a taxi rank right outside a nightclub in a cue. The muggers were both dressed in matching uniforms (black) with the words security embroidered on their “uniforms” and “beanies.” They looked legit. One accused me of sexual assualting them, then held my hands behind my back, the other punched me in the mouth. My pockets were emptied. Thankfully, they didn’t take my phone. No one in the taxi rank cue, cared. It was weird. They did not.
After calling the police I observed that it took 1 hour and twenty minutes for the police to turn up. I had been mugged 1k away from the nearest police station. Looking like my throat had been slit by that stage, (blood was all down my neck from the punch and my white shirt drench in blood from a swollen mug), I realized that there wasn’t much gained in calling the LAPD. It was a harsh lesson, in the real pressures on police in the USA.
They also informed me that, they couldn’t look for the mugger as they had to fill out paperwork first, so they could start the search the next day. Again, I realized that the police had far more important issues to deal with in LA like murders, domestic violence, rapes and stuff like that.
It was a pattern to be repeated on the four different occasions I called the LAPD after that. Later (like two years on), I developed friendships with the LAPD, as somehow that made me feel like I could get their support if I ever needed it. It worked. Great people. I discovered they are extremely underrated in what they do for the City of Los Angeles. Underpaid also. High pressure lives.
Anyway, back here in New Zealand we are dealing with inappropriate sexual behavior allegations (not Australian ones) in the NZ police force. The TVNZ report on the matter goes like this:
“Police are still struggling to shake off the worst aspects of their culture, dating back to the eighties, the deputy Auditor-General says.
Phillippa Smith‘s progress report on police conduct has identified some recommendations from a 2007 review still need to be addressed, such as dealing with complaints against officers and improving services for victims of sexual assault.
She says the culture within the police also still needs improvement, after the behaviour of officers was criticised five years ago.
“There is still an unacceptable, although low, level of inappropriate behaviour of a sexual nature, harassment, some staff being reluctant to report wrongdoing because of the perceived way colleagues were treated when they did, and slow change in the gender and ethnic composition of the Police,” she said. (Chinese girl cops are a must, then).
Acting Police Commissioner Viv Rickard told TV ONE’s Breakfast the force has made “significant progress” since the first report was published.
“The 2007 report was about police behaviour in the eighties and the New Zealand police has made significant progress,” he said.
“The (progress) report highlights that and in particular it talks about the work we’ve done internally with women in policing, the progress they’ve made and the significant focus we’ve put in that area.”
Rickard said there is still more work to be done in this area. He said he wanted to see more women taking senior roles within the police, and reaching senior ranks through their own merit.
He said the necessary changes require a shift in culture and could take some time to happen
“We accept there are some things that happened in the eighties that we don’t want as an organisation, but we’ve changed our focus, we want a real focus on prevention and victims that’s actually a cultural change in itself,” he said.
“People have traditionally joined the police for excitement and action and we’re trying to reposition our organisation on what we think is really important.”
Watch clip at top.
What I think: The way the police have been used in NZ over the past few years was not very exciting (Tuhoe raids etc).
In socializing with the LAPD, I discovered that most police want their other dreams heard and realized (stuff outside of being badged). Police are artists. A need to express being a hero is the nature of their art, if they create art as an extra interest outside of workig.
The nature of the force and the grind makes police personnel more artistic. So perhaps arts workshops would be a good strategy to introduce into the force so that creativity can have flow to enable police to evolve in new ways other than just being “tough.”
One of my good friends survived domestic violence in a marriage. Went on to strategize against domestic violence in one city of New Zealand, working for the police. Quite a story of success. And they were also grossly underpaid in that role with police repeatedly not giving my friend a pay rise over several years. Pscyho-sexual harrassment on the job was commonplace for my friend, especially around pay review stage each year.
To win, my friend went to police college and now wears the uniform with increased pay. I am very proud of that friend. I must call them soon to catch up on life. :)
In high pressured jobs, sexual assault is in that territory. It is domestic terrorism in my view. So much emphasise is placed on the glamour of a uniform. Especially military imaging, for example (if you observe US news, especially). What I’ve learned is that in New Zealand we have to fight the war at home.
I like this story from the police, because in talking of it, the police take a hit and look ‘dirty’ on the issue, yet the talking of it denotes a wider abuse of power (perhaps) with sexual abuse in the levels higher of New Zealand society. It is a good story, as a burden talked about is one that is shared and one that is on its way to being resolved.
Police are underpaid for what they do. I wish all police could have work experience in LA as that would make NZ police feel normal. My desire is that police in NZ are valued and not instructed to do dumb strategies in the future. (The Tuhoe raids, a shocker).
I developed a “seeing through uniforms section” on this website (once) to deal with the topic of badly behaved people in uniforms (military mainly) to ensure I was never fooled (after the mugging incident at top of story) by anyone in a uniform again. It helped me no end. Rape is never to be excused. When it does happen, rape victims have to dig deep to forgive. In economic inequality situations, violence and rape become more prevalent. It’s not cool. So, the police looking at the issue within the force, let’s everyone know, the issue needs addressing more then we are giving it time to be addressed.
Thanks for the story. A good one. Up front, brave and healthy. May NZ always talk about it some more.
In New Zealand it is awesome the police turn up to a job before an hour and twenty. That’s something the police can pat themselves on the back over in NZ.
- – -
In English then: inappropriate means: “Not suitable or proper in the circumstances.”
harrassment means: To irritate or torment persistently. To wear out; exhaust. To impede and exhaust (an enemy) by repeated attacks or raids. [from the French harer (Germanic): to set a dog on to].
sexual harassment means again: “unwelcome sexual advances made by an employer or superior, especially when compliance is made a condition of continued employment or advancement.”
Okay… that says it all then. We need to go top down, to sort this out. Women need to go up higher. Some men too. A brave story from the NZ police. Thank you.
[Finally - I find all stories (post the GFC engineering years) offensive if the clock has been rewound thirty years. How can that be on so many fronts? People have evolved light years since 30 years ago so I think Police salaries could go up. White collar crime is the big area needing some major funding. Everyone knows that. Also in white collar crime environs sexual assault is (supposedly) really bad. And: whatever happened to people (no matter what hirarchical ranking) asking someone else out on a date? If the answer is "no," then move on. So perhaps a communication (shyness) situation needs to be talked through with personnel in the force (and elsewhere, higher).
That sort of discussion needs to return to this culture perhaps. I feel for the ladies on this one. More pay, higher rankings needed for the girls.
[I am a sexual harassment survivor. I am very proud to write that, openly. It is a part of my story. Sometimes women are the worst at sexual harrassment, because men did such horrible things to them. In most cases though, us men are the most at fault of this unacceptable behavior. I don't hink it's inappropriate to share that on a New Zealand and Hollywood themed website, openly. So, I do get the story and I empathize with the NZ police.
You need good bounce back, a lot of forgiveness and an ability to really strike back against a culture of secual harrassment. What is done in secret is often the worst crimes of all. To be open is far healthier. Talking on the matter is the way to go, always. Probably, why I think this story does that, in round 1 of bringing it to normal New Zealanders attention. In NZ we are one community. We have the strength and humility to sort it out. It is also about acceptable rehabilitation for offending police or military too in regards to sexual harrassment. Front lines stuff is never normal. Yet the force can get through it by talking of it more. A brave story. Rock on!].
From an American perspective, also check out South Park‘s take on the culture of sexual harrassment.
~Posted by Horiwoodblog, Aotearoa New Zealand, Polynesia Asia-Pacific. 19.10.12~