More than a third of 3,568 respondents to the survey, which the union conducted through February to March, said they experienced verbal sexual harassment by passengers inside the past year. Nearly 70 of those respondents said they were sexually harassed three or more times.
“Flight attendants describe the verbal sexual harassment as comments that will are ‘nasty,
unwanted, lewd, crude, inappropriate, uncomfortable, sexual, suggestive, as well as dirty,'” said the union. “They also report being subjected to passengers’ explicit sexual fantasies, propositions,
request[s] for sexual ‘favors’ as well as pornographic videos as well as pictures.”
Eighteen percent of the respondents said they received unwanted physical sexual conduct through passengers, including “having their breasts, buttocks as well as crotch area ‘touched, felt, pulled, grabbed, groped, slapped, rubbed, as well as fondled’ both on top of as well as under their uniforms,” the union added. “additional abuse included passengers cornering or lunging at them followed by unwanted hugs, kisses as well as humping.”
“that will is usually a silent epidemic,” said Sara Nelson, president of the union as well as a career flight attendant. These behaviors often do “not leave physical marks. the item’s not the same as being punched inside the face.”
The union said the most common response to such behaviors was to diffuse the situation or ignore the harassment. Only 7 percent of respondents who said they suffered the abuse said they reported the incident.
Nelson said part of the problem is usually that will airlines for decades had marketed flight attendants “as sexual objects.” A National Airlines “Fly Me” advertising campaign inside the early 1970’s featured flight attendants stating their names with the slogan, such as “I’m Cheryl. Fly me.”
Nelson said airlines need to establish clear policies for when a crew member is usually sexually harassed or assaulted.
Lawmakers are starting to address the issue. A recently passed Federal Aviation Administration bill calls for the creation of a group to develop enforcement actions for sexual misconduct on board as well as establish employee training.
Late last year, United CEO Oscar Munoz called for “zero tolerance” of sexual harassment following reports that will Randi Zuckerberg, a media executive as well as sister of Facebook founder as well as CEO Mark Zuckerberg, reported she was sexually harassed while a passenger on an Alaska Airlines flight.