Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Opinion: So who are those Rock the Boat people?

Rock the Boat logoEleven months ago the Liberal Democrat world was tipped on its axis when Channel 4 broadcast reports from women making serious allegations of sexual harassment against one of the Party’s most senior, loved and respected figures.  As the sorry tale unfolded it was clear that the party had failed to deal with the complaints they had made and had failed to let anyone involved in the terrible situation get justice. It became clear that we, as an organisation, had a cultural problem and no idea of how to get our house in order.

As one would expect – if you know Lib Dems at all – the grassroots spoke, and James Shaddock set up a Facebook group called “Rock the Boat.” It grew rapidly and now has over 400 Liberal Democrat members.  The idea was that sometimes you have to say or do uncomfortable things to stop sexual harassment – whether that is to speak out about your own experiences, write policy motions, tell your friends if you think they are behaving inappropriately, or even reflect on your own actions and behaviours and perhaps change them after some soul searching and analysis. Sadly, eleven months ago it became quite obvious that when people had spoken up on sexual harassment, they had been told “Don’t Rock the Boat” – hence the name.

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Opinion: Why we’re rocking the boat in Brighton this weekend

I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership in relation to the party over the past few weeks in the wake of the allegations about the conduct of Lord Rennard, which he denies.

Why did no one tackle this effectively at the time? Why did it take several brave women talking to the media for us to finally deal with such a serious problem?

Credit where credit is due, Tim Gordon, the party’s Chief Executive has been impressive so far but is it enough?

Not for me or other Liberal Democrats members. That is why we set up

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Women Liberal Democrats and sexual harrassment allegations

miranda-whiteheadWe have received this statement from the Chair of Women Liberal Democrats, Miranda Whitehead, which has been sent to all their members. In view of its subject matter we have decided to reproduce it in full.

Women Liberal Democrats ( WLD)  are very concerned  by the sexual harassment allegations involving the party .

Of equally serious concern is the implication that the party did not deal appropriately with these complaints when they were first raised and failed to offer support.

We are also aware that it appears WLD was not seen as a place to turn for people with concerns. As some of these allegations are historical we are having to look back through our records, to be certain that these issues weren’t raised to the SAO, but whatever the case that is a failure on the part of WLD, and for that I am personally very sorry.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | Also tagged and | 17 Comments

Opinion: Reflections on sexual harassment

It has been a week for thinking about sexual harassment, and for talking (in both its old-fashioned and its electronic variants) about it more than I usually do. During this thinking and talking, I have been struck by how similar the attitudes towards it among men (or at least some of them) are to the way I heard men talk thirty years ago about rape and domestic violence.

I bet most of the women reading this have been sexually harassed in some way or another during their professional (in which I include political) careers, even if they have been reluctant to …

Posted in Op-eds | 30 Comments



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