Monica Byrne

Ways to avoid becoming a sex pest

With all the murk that has been thrown at me and the Palino campaign in an attempt to distract from Len Brown’s personal failings and his dodgy behaviour people have missed several points.

With regards to the affair it was never about the sex…it was always about the power relationship…Len Brown thinks that he can take advantage of a much younger woman, granting her favours regarding references, jobs and then perks including  what can really only be described as “quickie sex”. Never mind the serious code of conduct breaches.

With all the other evidence piling up in the tipline inbox that needs investigating it seems to me that there is a real problem with Len Brown that transcends a simple affair between consenting adults.

The Guardian has an article that applies in every way to the situation that Len Brown finds himself in.

Following an incident in which a female science blogger was called an “urban whore” for not writing a guest post for free, writer and playwright Monica Byrne updated a year-old post detailing an encounter in which she was sexually harassed, with the revelation that the person in question was Bora Zivkovic, Blogs Editor for Scientific American and a figurehead for the science writing community. Zivkovic confirmed that the incident happened, and many people were left confused and shocked.

Except it turns out that what happened to Byrne may not have been an isolated incident. A Scientific American blogger, Hannah Waters, then posted claims about her experiences with Zivkovic. It has been heartbreaking to see the ensuing flood of stories about personal harassment, abuse, and the legacy of trauma and self-doubt that it leaves. At the same time, it is encouraging to see that many people feel they are now able to come forward and talk about their experiences, and that many are trying to reflect on their own attitudes and beliefs, and learn from the mistakes of others.

So how can leaders combat this pernicious culture of sexism and abuse of power?  Read more »