Quotes in Press

Why precarious workers are facing rife sexual harassment

Huck Magazine
4 May 2021

Emily’s experience is sadly all too common among precarious workers. According to a 2017 report by the BBC, people in insecure work, such as gig economy workers, zero-hour workers and freelancers, experience workplace sexual harassment at a higher rate than those employed by a business. Around 46 per cent of gig economy and zero-hour workers said they had experienced workplace sexual harassment, compared with the still startlingly high 29 per cent of securely employed workers.

“In a traditional workplace, there is typically an outlined protocol taught to the employee of how to come forward and navigate the system,” says Mary Morgan, a writer, scholar and activist focused on body politics. “But [precarious workers] are typically not given any clear course of action, adding additional layers of uncertainty and vulnerability. Sometimes they don’t have access to HR, or aren’t made aware they do have access, making the path of reporting harassment feel impossible.”

[...]

 “[Precarious workers] feel forced to decide whether their best interest is to maintain a relationship with a company or to fight harassment, which is a horrifying position to put people in,” Mary says. “Many times, it’s the fear of losing that job and what comes with it that prevents victims from coming forward. Their livelihoods are at stake, as well as their reputation and their careers.” 

Rowers hit stormy waters as rape allegation hangs over Boat Race

The Telegraph
2 April 2021

It is not only one of the high points of the sporting calendar, but has for decades heralded the traditional start of “the season”.

This year, however, dark clouds hang over the Boat Race.

Sunday’s event – being held away from the Thames in London because of Covid restrictions – has been plunged into controversy after a member of the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club claimed she was raped by one of the university’s athletes.

The woman claims Oxford University failed to take her complaints seriously. As a result, protests are set to take place at the university, and the crews of the Oxford and Cambridge women’s teams are expected to wear ribbons during the race showing their support for victims of alleged male attacks.

[...]

Mary Morgan, a writer and campaigner against sexual violence, said: “For Oxford to only investigate allegations of sexual assault when they go through the police means their policy fails to understand the reality of systemic issues in our society. Conviction rates for rape are far lower than other crimes. Women are fearful to come forward for so many reasons, but ultimately, because they are afraid they will not receive justice, and will endure a second victimisation by the system. 

“Oxford has an obligation to protect its students. To wash its hands clean of an investigation completely fails to provide that support.”

“It Feels Like It’s Just Us”

A woman’s brutal murder has sparked nationwide protests against harassment and sexism. But British women wonder why they’re the only ones fighting.

Slate
17 March 2021

A forgotten slice of feminist history sits by the south side of Clapham Common, an urban park in South London. In 1911, two female surgeons started raising funds to establish a hospital for women and children. It would fulfil the dual goals of training more female medical practitioners while providing health care to female patients in a space created for women by women. The South London Hospital for Women was finally opened five years later, despite facing a predictably disdainful response from the predominantly male clinical sector. It was remarkable for its progressive and thoughtful design, which took into consideration the needs of women of all social classes, and was known fondly to its all-female staff as an “Adamless Eden” until its closure in 1984.

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“No one is saying that men don’t experience violence against them, and that violence is committed by other men,” says Mary Morgan, an expert in body politics. “But it’s an issue when people only bring up violence against men in relation to violence against women. It’s an effort to silence and belittle women … downplaying the realities of disproportionate violence that women face on a day-to-day basis. Women are expected to shoulder the responsibility for preventing violence, and then the blame when violence is done to them. Then we’re gaslit for speaking up about that violence. It’s appalling that anyone would be offended by this movement. We’re not asking a lot—we’re just asking to not be assaulted or murdered.”

In Rage Over Sarah Everard Killing, ‘Women’s Bargain’ Is Put on Notice

The New York Times
14 March 2021

Perhaps it was because pandemic lockdowns have left women clinging to whatever is left of their access to public space. Perhaps it was because after more than three years of the #MeToo movement, the police and society are still telling women to sacrifice their liberties to purchase a little temporary safety.

It all came to the surface when 33-year-old Sarah Everard, who disappeared as she walked home in London on March 3, was found dead a week later, after doing everything she was supposed to do. She took a longer route that was well-lit and populated. She wore bright clothes and shoes she could run in. She checked in with her boyfriend to let him know when she was leaving. But that was not enough to save her life.

[...]

Eventually the organizers capitulated and called off the event, in part because they could not bear the thought of their fines going to subsidize the very police force they were protesting, said Mary Morgan, a writer and scholar focused on body politics who was one of the event’s original organizers. “It makes my stomach rot,” she said in an interview.

[...]

But Ms. Everard’s death has led Ms. Majuqwana and many others to reject the bargain outright.

“It doesn’t matter what women do,” Ms. Morgan said. “We can be hypervigilant, we can follow all the precautions that have been taught to us since we were children.”

Endemic violence against women is causing a wave of anger

The Guardian
11 March 2021

Women feared this was coming. They waited, messaging each other in WhatsApp groups and on social media. They talked about their own attempts to stay safe, discussed their near misses.

When the news came on Wednesday evening – that police investigating the disappearance of Sarah Everard had found the remains of a body – a wave of grief crashed over them, followed quickly by anger.

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“We are having a #MeToo moment right now,” said the writer Mary Morgan. “Women are sharing their stories, they are showing the world the realities of gender-based violence, and how deep and widespread of an issue it is. We need urgent societal change.”

Reclaim These Streets: the vigil being held in honour of every woman who has gone missing on our streets

Stylist
7 March 2021

Ever since Sarah Everard was reported missing after walking home from a friend’s house last week, women around the UK have felt connected to her disappearance.

Any woman or girl who has walked the streets at night will know the fear that so often comes with it. And most women reading this will have taken those extra precautions – crossing the road to the better-lit path, taking out your headphones, texting a friend to let them know your whereabouts – to avoid street harassment or an unsafe situation.

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Mary Morgan, a writer and scholar who’s an expert on body politics, tells us: “The reality is that it does not matter what women do. We can do it completely ‘right.’ We can take every safety measure into consideration. But it is not enough, and that’s because women’s actions are not the problem. The problem is a societal system that permits, even encourages, acts of aggression against women.

“Our society has always focused on teaching women how to avoid, prevent or deter violence, rather than stopping it altogether by attacking the systems which foster its occurrence.”

She adds: “We need societal change. It’s more than a conversation, or sharing a meme, or men reacting in shock while women share their endless stories of harassment, stalking and assault. We need a societal shift in attitudes and behaviors around women and their bodies. We need a full change in culture.”  

Catcalling in the time of Covid

Newstalk MONCRIEFF Show
2 September 2020

You would think in an age when most of us have our faces covered with masks that catcalling would have been relegated to the garbage bin of history, but that appears not to be the case. Mary Morgan is an Artist, writer and activist focusing on body politics. She joined Sean to talk about the effects catcalling has on women.

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