'Shocking' Sexual Harassment Of Airline Crew Exposed In New Report

One in three Australian airline cabin crew have been sexually harassed on the job, according to an eye-opening new report released by the Transport Workers Union.

A shocking 65 percent of the airline cabin crew surveyed have experienced sexual harassment while at work, including passengers exposing themselves or speaking lewd comments, or actually being assaulted.

One in five of those people reported having experienced more than 10 incidents of sexual harassment, while most were unhappy with how their employer handled their complaints -- which sometimes led to victims being dismissed from their position.

Image: Getty Images

“These results are sad and shocking," said TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine.

"Many people want to see this issue exposed and dealt with."

Of the more than 400 people surveyed -- who the TWU said included employees from all major Australian-based airlines -- 70 percent said they did not report the incident. Most said this was because they believed the airline would not provide appropriate assistance.

Another 40 percent percent said they didn't report the problem because they feared the situation would become worse.

And these respondents may have a point -- a staggering 84 percent of people who did report harassment said they were not satisfied with how their complaints were handled.

(Getty Images)

The TWU said it had contacted survey respondents and was setting up an emergency group to formulate solutions for the issue.

"They show that airlines are not taking the problem seriously and are not supporting workers when they are faced with what are daily assaults on them," Kaine said.

Those surveyed said the harassment they received included having passengers expose themselves, highly sexualised comments, bigoted comments about a crew member's sexuality, and being pinned down and assaulted.

"We are touched on the groin and buttocks region every single day, sometimes every single flight," one respondent said.

"The company's response to my complaint was 'are you sure this is the right career for you?'" another said.

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By releasing the results, the TWU hopes to shed a light on the problem, and force airlines to take action.

"It is not good enough for airlines to say they have policies in place to deal with sexual harassment," Kaine said.

"It is clear that a culture exists at airlines to at best ignore the problem and at worst protect the perpetrators."

Strict dress codes and overnight work are among the factors that exacerbate the problem Kaine said.

"Our survey shows there is an endemic problem that is subjecting hundreds of men and women to the most horrendous treatment,” he said.

Image: Getty Images
What The Statistics Say
  • Four out of five said they had experienced sexual harassment by a co-worker
  • Three out of five said they had experienced sexual harassment from passengers
  • One in two have experienced sexual assault more than four times
  • One in five have experienced sexual assault more than ten times
  • 57 percent didn't feel comfortable reporting an incident
  • 56 percent didn't think it would be handled appropriately
  • 39 percent were afraid the situation would be made worse by reporting it
  • 84 percent were not satisfied with how their airline handled an incident

Feature Image: Getty Images