Women Offshore is a non-profit organisation and resource centre on a mission to support women throughout their maritime careers. Importantly, they’ve been raising awareness in the industry about serious matters affecting women – including sexual misconduct.
“The Women Offshore Foundation propels women+ into meaningful careers through access to a worldwide community and professional development resources, while raising awareness amongst industry leaders and decision makers about issues affecting women on the water.”
To combat anything from harassment to sexual assault in the maritime industry, they have launched the Sexual Assault & Violence Eradication (S.A.V.E.) Program.
Keep reading to see how they provide essential support and reporting resources, and their work’s positive impact.
The fight: sexual misconduct
At the heart of Women Offshore is the passion to cultivate an environment in which the entire workforce is empowered and supported. To achieve that, and to dispel aggressive and inappropriate behaviour, they founded the S.A.V.E Program to provide reporting and support resources.
This program helps those affected tackle:
- Physical assault
- Sexual assault
A climate and culture that accommodates adverse behaviour will unfortunately result in an increase in sexual violence. The S.A.V.E Program recognises the necessity of expelling toxic environments, behaviours, and attitudes.
The mentality: a “brave space”
Behind the program is a determination to inspire courage and defiance in the face of destructive behaviour.
Women Offshore understands the scale and scope that sexual violence will have on anyone’s life, no matter when it happens, and that each individual will respond differently to an incident and have their own way of processing events.
By raising awareness about sexual misconduct, and how to deal with it, the program works to “create a society where all individuals are respected, safe, and free from violence”.
The progress: “making waves”
In 2022, Women Offshore took giant steps forward as an organisation. They have:
- Guided victims in reporting to Coast Guard Investigative Service (CGIS). Dealing with criminal threats, the CGIS aim to protect and support U.S. Coast Guard personnel worldwide. Directing survivors to the appropriate service will get the ball rolling on legal procedure and holding those responsible accountable.
- Supplied response training. Educating the industry is essential to removing stigma surrounding sexual misconduct, and making people aware of what steps to take if affected.
- Posted social media content on how and when to report sexual misconduct. Raising awareness is key to encourage conversation in the industry, and outside of it too.
- Provided guidance for provisions in the Safer Seas Act. The Safer Seas Act is a bill that addresses sexual assault and sexual harassment in the U.S. maritime industry. Making an impact on legislation is a testament to the S.A.V.E Program’s work, and is a prime example of long-term positive change.
Pushing for real and positive systematic change in the industry is vital to everyone’s safety. Clearly, thanks to the S.A.V.E Program and Women Offshore’s work, this is already happening.
On their website, Women Offshore gives a list of recommended resources to support anyone affected, and signpost information to help report an incident. This includes links to websites, hotlines, email addresses, and report forms.
They encourage you to reach out to the program coordinator to offer support or ask any questions.
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