Sexual harassment in Malta – Hidden and shocking

The international media has been awash with sexual harassment stories over the past year. The #MeToo campaign is the most famous effect of all this. I’m surprised there hasn’t been much news from Malta. Does this mean there is no harassment on the island? Could that be the case?

I

The #MeToo campaign started in an effort to get people to share stories showing that sexual harassment is a common part of their lives. Stories flooded social media, and those about people in the public eye became news. It didn’t take long for some to resign in shame. Harvey Weinstein. British minister Michael Fallon. Comedian Louis CK. All household names that have disappeared because of the allegations brought against them.

Harvey Weinstein being arrested

Organisations around the world worry about the implications to their reputation. They’re busy making sure sexual harassment is not tolerated. Cambridge University, for example, appointed a confidential adviser and other universities have followed suit.

I haven’t heard of similar things happening in Malta. On the contrary, news emerging over the past year suggests the situation is just as bad and worsening. Lovin Malta reported on a 2018 European Parliament study on gender equality. The study interviewed women working in the media in Malta. The women talked about being ‘initiated’ into newsrooms. The men watched porn and spoke about women journalists in derogatory sexual terms.

Are these one-offs or are they representative of Maltese society?

II

I think it’s more than just a one-off because we see many of these stories.

Last year of popular blogger Maltagram who took herself offline because men would send her dick pics. It reached the point where she couldn’t take it anymore.

In May 2018 we heard about the court case of a 23-year old man who raped his ex-girlfriend “to teach her a lesson.” His statement is indicative of his thinking.

There have been countless stories in the media over the years. This is a large, but hidden aspect of life in Malta.

Which doesn’t mean it’s every woman’s experience, either. There are good places to work for. There are men who don’t think harassing women is the norm.

I polled some friends to ask about their experiences. The stories varied, as you would expect, and I’m only going to reproduce two extremes here (I’ve changed the names).

Denise works in financial services. She has nothing but praise for the companies she’s worked for over the past three decades. At the beginning, there were some who assumed she was a receptionist just because she’s female. This soon stopped and since then she’s had a great career. Now she even heads a growing firm.

Camilla had to resign from jobs because of the harsh abuse she received. In several cases, it was physical abuse too. To add insult to that injury, men who were witnesses to the harassment would refuse to make statements backing her up.

I’m glad this doesn’t happen everywhere but the stereotype of a Mediterranean macho male is not far from the truth.

Do you want these sexual deviants harassing your wife or daughter?

Why aren’t there similar stories about public figures in Malta?

III

There must be some story.

With all the people in politics, in the media, on television and so on, there have to be incidents. These people cannot all be whiter than white.

The only story from recent times is from 2015. A Member of Parliament threatened a female MP with violence during a parliamentary sitting.

I struggle to imagine that all is fine in the corridors of power. My best guess is people would rather not share these stories.

I can understand the need for privacy.

Sometimes you just want to keep embarrassing incidents hidden from the public eye.

I also want criminals and harassers locked up and out of the way because I don’t want them free to harass my daughter, sister, wife or mother.

Malta’s law courts – Valletta, Malta (by Berthold Werner)

Would you?

IV

I’m going to do the same thing I did when I wrote about whistleblowers.

I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.

As of now, I am ready to write about any sexual harassment worthy of the #MeToo campaign to improve life in Malta. If you have any information you wish to share contact me on whistleblower {at} brainnotego.com as soon as possible. Please don’t include confidential information in e-mail but do let me know how I can get in touch with you.

You’re a good person.

When you share this article with as many people as you can, you will help make Malta a safer place.

Because we, the people, deserve better.

Share this article with someone who wants a safer Malta.

References

  1. Harvey Weinstein’s Arrest Marks a Pivotal Turning Point for the #MeToo Movement; Eliana Dockterman; Time Magazine; 2018-05-25
  2. Revealed: why Michael Fallon was forced to quit as defence secretary; Jamie Doward; The Guardian; 2017-11-04
  3. Louis CK responds to allegations of sexual misconduct: ‘These stories are true’; Joanna Walters and Molly Redden; The Guardian; 2017-11-11
  4. Consent on campus: How safe do you feel?; Megan Nolan; The Sunday Times of London; 2017-11-26
  5. Strip Club Meetings, Porn And Shocking Initiations; Grech Urpani, David; Lovin Malta; 2018-02-12[]
  6. Gender equality in the media sector; European Parliament; 2018-01-17
  7. Over and out; Rhi; Maltagram; 2017-05-05
  8. 15-year-old raped by ex-boyfriend who wanted to ‘teach her a lesson’; Edwina Brincat; The Times; 2018-05-16
  9. Marlene Farrugia vs Joe Debono Grech incident; The Times of Malta; 2015-12-04

All references were valid and correct when this article was published. Changes to referenced websites or web pages may render some references invalid. If this is the case, please leave a comment below.


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