Because Amy Taeber is the extraordinary story

The 27-year-old has been working as a cadet journalist with Channel Seven Adelaide newsroom, when he made a complaint of harassment on a senior male colleague.

An audio recording of Taeuber subsequent suspension from the job, you will be required to return the phone and have his support person that has asked to leave, that is aired on the ABC 7.30 program this week. She was then escorted from the building and do not return to work.

But Taeuber the story is not extraordinary, because of the type of conduct she complained about. Sexual harassment is an incredibly ordinary occurrence in workplaces around Australia, and so is the inclination of powerful institutions to protect their.

What is remarkable is that Taeuber made a complaint in the first place.

Amy Taeuber (right) with his twin sister Sophie. Photo: Supplied.

While the circumstances of her complaint are different, the reading Taeuber the history of this week I was reminded of an interview that I conducted while writing my book, Not Just Lucky. The book tells the story of how deep-rooted sexist attitudes still exist in Australian workplaces, and includes a chapter that exposes the horrifying — and horrifyingly widespread experiences of women who have been victims of harassment or assaulted on the job.

The interview was with a girl about the same age as Amy Taeuber, who was the target of physical harassment, when she was heard by a senior male colleague during a Christmas party. He has been established, influential and respected figure in the office. He worked part-time in the marketing department and was used for less than a year.

In the moment the assault happened, did not know what to do. “I felt bad immediately. I am a pretty confident person and usually if someone does something that upsets me, I’d like to say stop. But at first I didn’t do anything … I think because he was my boss. He was a person I wanted approval, but is not that kind of approval.”.

“For men in those positions of greater responsibility at work, you have all meet. So you have this sense of entitlement, because you can ask people to do things for you. You can ask that girl to get a good cup of coffee. You can ask for exactly what you want or simply take it.”

That sense of entitlement is at the heart of so many harassment in the workplace. Men in positions of power and influence are able to take advantage of young, vulnerable women who sometimes don’t even realise what is and is not acceptable.

When you are new to the world of work — and that world is one in which decisions are taken and the culture is shaped by men in high — takes a particularly brave person to call the action.

And while we know that sexual harassment is a problem in Australian workplaces, it can be difficult to identify just as prevalent. Why? Because data can hardly be precise, when the underestimation is the norm.

Michelle Ruiz and Lauren Ahn, has conducted a broad survey for Cosmopolitan magazine in 2015 where they asked young women if they had ever been sexually harassed at work. Sixteen percent responded that they had. But when the questionnaire and in-depth, it was discovered that the real percentage is at least five times.

Eighty percent of the women surveyed had experienced some type of verbal harassment, including inappropriate comments, or sexually suggestive jokes. Forty-four percent said they had been victims of unwanted physical contact or sexual. Twenty-five percent had received spontaneously in the vernacular texts or emails from colleagues.

Seventy percent did not because of what had happened to them.

This is what makes Amy Taeuber — and my subject — so remarkable.

They have chosen to speak out.

The whole country now knows what happened to Amy Taeuber, when he made a statement. I asked my subject if his was a similar experience.

“Initially I was just going to quit. I don’t want to go back is always there,” he said. “When I complained [e-mail] work has taken a lot of time to respond to me and when she was a little bit like victim blaming. They don’t want to deal with it. They wanted to go on.”

“That was my social media and had screenshots of what I had posted over the weekend, and told me not to look upset. I was clearly going well, he seemed to say. I feel as if no one [in the work] never believed in me, which is horrible because you’re basically being called a liar. Think people see it that way, as a drama queen or a gold digger or something like that. It is so offensive”.

Now, the keyboard warriors shout that everyone is innocent until evidence to the contrary and that when an affirmation is made, it’s just that, for the prosecution. And they are right. Seven, finally, considered to be the colleague, the comment not to be out of line. However, it is not — and should not — follow that the person who makes a statement, it is a scam, until proven correct. Every victim has the right to complain, and every victim deserves to be taken seriously, and their complaint responded to with sensitivity.

I don’t know what happened to Channel Seven, but in my experience it is rare for the victims to be taken seriously. And yet women’s stories are disbelieved and discredited in the workplace, in the media and from the community. The result is that women are scared into silence. We begin to doubt ourselves and one another. We have lost faith in the place of work structures and legal systems that are supposedly designed to protect us. Inevitably, many women choose the less painful, less vulnerable and less exposed location to stay silent, instead.

Bravo for the women who find the strength to speak. Not only for themselves but also for the countless others who for any reason were not able to complain. This makes them truly remarkable.

Jamila Rizvi is a writer, radio presenter and journalist. His first book, Not Only Lucky is now available. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.