The Sexual Harassment Women In This Job Face Will Give You Chills

Photo: Alamy Stock.
About halfway through the season, I was peeing behind a bush when I realized I wasn't alone. One of the male guides was standing over me. Before I could speak, he did: "It's been puzzling me all season — are your nipples pink or brown? I know you're a B cup, I have that figured out, but what color are your nipples?"

At the end of the work day, I told the owner of the guiding company. He tried to brush it off, "Awww, he just has a crush on you."

That's just one of the chilling stories Bridget Crocker shared with Men's Journal in a new story about the sexual harassment of female river guides in the West. Crocker has been working in the industry for 17 years, and her experiences mirror those of the 35 women who shared horrific accounts of their experience working for the National Park Service in the Grand Canyon National Park River District in a new report from the U.S. Department of Interior.

"For river guides, I think the remoteness of the wilderness makes it seem like no one is watching," Crocker said, trying to explain the toxic workplace she's put up with for so long. "Couple that with excessive drinking and drug use in a party atmosphere and the river becomes an alternate reality where society's rules no longer apply."

The 14-page Department of Interior report details truly disgusting stories of women who were denied food because they refused sexual advances, who were victims of unwanted touching and inappropriate comments, male colleagues photographing a woman beneath her skirt, and one example of an alleged rape. It's chilling to imagine such a work environment.

Like so many harassment cases, there's no obvious fix to this shitty problem. In male-dominated industries, we are still seeing too many examples of men behaving terribly, often without consequence — just look at the recent study that 60% of women in tech have been sexually harassed in the workplace. Perhaps the only thing we can hope is that as more women enter the workforce and assert their right to be there, men will have to come to accept a new reality where they can't get away with this bad behavior. As difficult as it might be, it's also essential for women to speak up and share their stories, if only because it helps other victims not feel so alone.

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