School

Roy H. Park School of Communications

Department

Strategic Communication

ICC Theme

Other

Date

2-4-2019 12:10 PM

Abstract

Through our inquiry, we sought to delve into the nuances of the cultural and social circumstances within which sexual misconduct is allowed to persist. Through a deconstruction of these circumstances, we worked to make a meaningful contribution toward a solution of this issue. Preliminary research revealed to us that media coverage conflated hundreds of stories into one narrative, which resulted in compartmentalization of what sexual misconduct looked like (Media and #MeToo, 2018). The media’s projection accurately represents a sexual misconduct epidemic, which affects the lives of almost 50% of women and 20% of men in the United States (Quinnipiac University, 2017).

Prior to research, most of our team’s knowledge of the subject stemmed from media exposure. In order to deepen our knowledge without specifically defining what our contribution would be, we began individually researching the top industries in which we believed sexual misconduct occurred. Our research focused on the industries of entertainment, government, religion, and sports. However, after initial research, our focus quickly shifted to sexual misconduct and abuse of power in higher education and general corporate environments.

Legally, sexual misconduct is defined as: “a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another’s will or at the expense of another. Sexual Misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any conduct of a sexual nature that is without consent, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed” (Sexual Misconduct Law and Legal Definition, 2018).

Through inquiry, our team realized that there is a tremendous amount of complexity in the application of this definition. We began by working backwards, speaking with people who had first-hand accounts with victims of sexual misconduct. We realized a powerful educational experience, much like the one our team was shaping in this project, could be part of our solution. Interviews with thought leaders and experts determined a three-pronged model of causes that were enabling sexual misconduct in the workplace:1) power dynamics built into the structures of these organizations,2)a lack of knowledge or 2 understanding of what sexual misconduct is, and 3) a lack of punishment for perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

Looking at a three-pronged model of causation, we developed three possible avenues of exploration to address each cause in the hopes of making a worthwhile contribution toward the issue. Firstly, an awareness campaign, which seeks to increase people’s sensitivity toward sexual misconduct and thus encourage bystander intervention. The second, an educational program within organizations that would rethink how current corporate training treats sexual misconduct, eventually becoming a part of our final design. Lastly, we think that part of the issue might be a lack of training on sexual misconduct and consent training included with elementary health education, and thus discussed the idea of redesigning curriculum aimed at younger students. We eventually decided to pursue the idea of organizational education.

Our team designed a program that empowers a dialogue to educate potential perpetrators and victims, and drive an increased cultural pressure to work against sexual misconduct in the workplace. We designed an experience that brings employees face-to-face with the issue, and puts the tools and responsibility in the hands of bystanders, rather than of the victims. This new experiential training witnesses sexual misconduct as it would actually occur in a workplace. Following this, employees are encouraged to partake in discourse around the issue and how we can better create environments where such actions are deemed completely inappropriate.

Document Type

Poster

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Apr 2nd, 12:10 PM

Power Dynamics and Sexual Misconduct

Through our inquiry, we sought to delve into the nuances of the cultural and social circumstances within which sexual misconduct is allowed to persist. Through a deconstruction of these circumstances, we worked to make a meaningful contribution toward a solution of this issue. Preliminary research revealed to us that media coverage conflated hundreds of stories into one narrative, which resulted in compartmentalization of what sexual misconduct looked like (Media and #MeToo, 2018). The media’s projection accurately represents a sexual misconduct epidemic, which affects the lives of almost 50% of women and 20% of men in the United States (Quinnipiac University, 2017).

Prior to research, most of our team’s knowledge of the subject stemmed from media exposure. In order to deepen our knowledge without specifically defining what our contribution would be, we began individually researching the top industries in which we believed sexual misconduct occurred. Our research focused on the industries of entertainment, government, religion, and sports. However, after initial research, our focus quickly shifted to sexual misconduct and abuse of power in higher education and general corporate environments.

Legally, sexual misconduct is defined as: “a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another’s will or at the expense of another. Sexual Misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any conduct of a sexual nature that is without consent, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed” (Sexual Misconduct Law and Legal Definition, 2018).

Through inquiry, our team realized that there is a tremendous amount of complexity in the application of this definition. We began by working backwards, speaking with people who had first-hand accounts with victims of sexual misconduct. We realized a powerful educational experience, much like the one our team was shaping in this project, could be part of our solution. Interviews with thought leaders and experts determined a three-pronged model of causes that were enabling sexual misconduct in the workplace:1) power dynamics built into the structures of these organizations,2)a lack of knowledge or 2 understanding of what sexual misconduct is, and 3) a lack of punishment for perpetrators of sexual misconduct.

Looking at a three-pronged model of causation, we developed three possible avenues of exploration to address each cause in the hopes of making a worthwhile contribution toward the issue. Firstly, an awareness campaign, which seeks to increase people’s sensitivity toward sexual misconduct and thus encourage bystander intervention. The second, an educational program within organizations that would rethink how current corporate training treats sexual misconduct, eventually becoming a part of our final design. Lastly, we think that part of the issue might be a lack of training on sexual misconduct and consent training included with elementary health education, and thus discussed the idea of redesigning curriculum aimed at younger students. We eventually decided to pursue the idea of organizational education.

Our team designed a program that empowers a dialogue to educate potential perpetrators and victims, and drive an increased cultural pressure to work against sexual misconduct in the workplace. We designed an experience that brings employees face-to-face with the issue, and puts the tools and responsibility in the hands of bystanders, rather than of the victims. This new experiential training witnesses sexual misconduct as it would actually occur in a workplace. Following this, employees are encouraged to partake in discourse around the issue and how we can better create environments where such actions are deemed completely inappropriate.

 

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