The Foreign Service Journal - March 2018

34 MARCH 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL The combination of complex processes, inadequate accountability at senior levels, a lack of training and other issues means that repeat offenders can continue to abuse. mental consequences for the careers and lives of those affected and, by depriving the United States of the service of some of our best and brightest, a deep and negative effect on our national security.” The mandate is clear. What State Must Do The State Department should adopt and implement a “no tolerance” policy for sexual harassment, abuse and assault. It should create a special committee, which includes representa- tion from various hiring categories, ranks and bureaus, to inves- tigate all forms of sexual harassment within the State Depart- ment and create actionable recommendations on institutional reform within a reasonable time-frame. To provide institutional remedies: • Fully implement the policies on sexual harassment and sexual assault. • Update employee handbooks. • Require mandatory, ongoing sexual harassment training. • Hold supervisors accountable for maintaining respectful work- places. • Ensure prompt processing of harassment/assault complaints by responsible offices. • Establish a recusal policy for HR, DS, the Bureau of Medical Services and OIG when asked to investigate harassment or assault by their own employees. • Improve resources and support for employees, family members, LE staff and contractors who face sexual harassment or assault. • Create a separate, confidential and responsive channel for victims to report sexual assault and receive physical and mental support. • Impose transparent penalties against perpetrators that factor in the severity and frequency of the harassment, including penalties such as suspension, criminal charges, revocation of security clearance and separation. • Provide statistical information on complaints and outcomes. • Conduct vigorous and timely investigations of sexual assault reports and provide accurate statistical reporting of cases/time- lines/outcomes. • Reinvigorate the Federal Women’s Program at all State facili- ties. What You Can Do Each of us must do our part to make safe, respectful work- places the norm in the State Department’s many outposts in the United States and around the world: • Firmly protest and report discrimination, harassment, abuse and stereotyping—not only when it happens to you, but also when it happens to anyone else. • Recognize that assault happens and take active measures to support and protect assault victims. • Proactively contribute to a workplace environment that empowers everyone. Reject off-color jokes, discussion about physical attributes, stereotyping and labeling. • Be alert to power dynamics that underlie harassment. • Treat everyone with the respect you would like to receive from them. It’s time for us to start talking to one another, supporting one another and building a workforce where everyone feels heard, respected and safe. It’s time to change the habits that are making us weaker at a time when American diplomacy needs our united strength and commitment. n While I was serving overseas, a male Civil Service col- league thought nothing of engaging a high-level foreign coun- terpart on what was then his recently acquired online Japanese girlfriend. This took place dur- ing an official meeting, and the central part of their conversation was how Asian women have small vaginas so the sex is better. This included the Egyptian counterpart making a small “o” hand signal to illustrate his perception about Asian women. # #StateToo