By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
The military services of the United States are not the only organizations that are plagued by sexual harassment and sexual assaults that include rape toward their female members. We have a similar problem in the fire service in the United States as well.
Recently, I saw a post on Facebook from one of my LinkedIn connections where she spoke of the ongoing sexual harassment that women continue to experience in the fire service. I wrote a positive and encouraging comment to the post which prompted a continued correspondence over the next few hours where I learned much more about her situation, a situation that involved not only sexual harassment on the job, but also her rape by a member of her own work unit.
I also learned that she has a Facebook Page for female firefighters with more than 200 followers and that over half of those past and present firefighters had been the victim of an on-the-job sexual assault or rape.
I’m going to write about her experience–which she has granted me the approval to do, even though her case is still in litigation–but first I want to conduct some background research on this subject. So with that goal in mind, I’ve constructed the following survey.
If you, or someone you know in the fire service–past or present–have been the victim of sexual assault or rape by a member of your department, please take the time to respond to this survey. (Here is the URL for the survey for you to share along your other social media platforms, https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LQMK86K).
All answers will be kept confidential and I will not have any information concerning your identity. (The survey has been created using SurveyMonkey.com).
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and to take the survey.
Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec and his wife of 30+ years now make their home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.