Female journalists need to be protected from unwanted sexual attention

Many female journalists have horror stories of sexual mistreatment

Female sports journalists have to work in a male-dominated world without protection. (Photo by Lorraine Barron)

Female sports journalists have to work in a male-dominated world without protection. (Photo by Lorraine Barron)

Ask any female journalist and she has her own horror stories of sexual mistreatment. I have my own. 

As a journalist I have had to deal with this. My very first sporting event I covered was a water polo match, and the referee felt he had the right to make advancements toward me and touch me. 

I asked several times for this to stop and it didn’t. I moved away from him and it continued. At the end of the match he handed me a piece of paper, and when I opened it, it had his phone number and told me to call him. The whole interaction made my skin crawl.

As a female sports journalist, it is required that I interact with men in the sports world. This means being close to men to ask questions and get answers. 

This is when some men feel they have the right to make advancements towards female journalists. This is a sexual attack no matter how minor some may feel the action is and it has to stop.

Edreece Arghandiwal, Oakland Roots co-founder and chief marketing officer, was the guest speaker at the recent Journalism Association of Community College 

Arghandiwal shared the steps Oakland Roots is taking to protect and promote Oakland Soul, the affiliated women’s soccer team. According to Oakland Soul’s website, it increases opportunity, gender equality and career development for women.

According to Oakland Root’s website it’s striving to shine a light on the importance of women’s sports and ensure that they have the same equality in all aspects. 

Oakland Roots has also hired counselors for anyone in the clubs, but also with a mindset to help males understand that sexual harassment is not acceptable. 

Protecting women athletes is an essential part of making women equal in the sport’s world, but all females who work within the sports world also need protection.. 

Female journalists are working, we are not trying to get the attention of men. We are doing our job. 

No, not all interactions between men and the women working are inappropriate. Though the sexual harassment is happening in the workforce.  

According to the What To Become website 77% of women are verbally harassed in the workplace and 51% are touched against their will. 

There are males who feel they have the right to make crude comments or touch, these are the actions that need to stop. 

Arghandiwal’s account of what his sister’s teammates had to experience as the reasoning behind why he feels strongly about protecting the female athletes is a powerful story. It gives strong motivation to protect the females in that circle, though it is why I felt it was important to remind Arghandiwal to protect all women who interact in this male-dominated world. 

I won second place for my sports game story about the water polo game at the Journalism Association of Community College 2022 State Conference for this article. But, it is forever tied to the action that the referee felt he had the right to force on me. 

I have had nightmares and depression. I have wanted to quit. I want to throw away my award, it means nothing and it should mean everything. 

Society tells women that it is our job to put up with this behavior. This needs to stop now. 

How many more women need to be a victim of this assault? We need more men like Arghandiwal. 

All clubs need to have mental health providers for their employees, be it players or staff. It’s time to take a stand and say women deserve better.