A Missouri’s firefighter’s accusations of sexual harassment show that while a lot of progress has been made on this issue, we still have a long way to go, particularly when it comes to public servants.
Dana Osborne, the first female firefighter in the Nixa Fire Protection District in Kansas City, Mo., enduring treatment that is beyond inappropriate, to include a captain sending her a picture of his erect penis and being denied training and female-appropriate equipment.
It is sickening that Osborne was constantly barraged with pornography in the workplace, from her colleagues watching pornography at the station and more than one showing her nude photos. This is disturbing by itself -- it’s even more upsetting to know that this wasn’t done during time off, but on the clock -- during time these officers were being paid.
While we haven’t seen that kind of behavior here in Clay Center, don’t think it couldn’t happen here. In 2009, police officers in Marysville were disciplined for taking inappropriate photos. Though details of what exactly happened were not officially released, the rumor around town was that the officers had engaged in a contest with one another over who could get more photos of cleavage of women they had pulled over.
Fire-fighting, law enforcement and other first responders have always been predominantly male professions, but that doesn’t make it OK to treat the workplace like a locker room. This behavior isn’t OK even in that setting,
Osborne’s coworkers owe her an apology. They deserve to lose their jobs over it too. At the very least, these actions warrant a serious reprimand, and they should have to pay back wages for all that time they spent watching pornography at the station.
— Ryan D. Wilson