This problem has also persisted in other countries for a while –– Neiman Reports actually lists sexual harassment as a common barrier for female reporters. In 2015, an anonymous female sports reporter told Sports Illustrated that athletes had started rumors about her and another player consistently flirted with her. Other reporters shared similar experiences.
“I’ve been invited to hotel rooms while on the road more times than I can count,” a reporter said.
The 52 Brazilian journalists had similar experiences –– many have reported that they’ve received abusive messages and rape threats.
Although sexual harassment remains an issue for many sports journalists, it’s also a reality for Brazil as a whole. The country signed the Beijing Conference platform of action, which states that sexual harassment is a form of violence against women.
“The fear of violence, including harassment, is a permanent constraint on the mobility of women and limits their access to resources and basic activities,” the document says.
According to World Organisation Against Torture, Brazilian law forbids sexual harassment and violators can receive one to two years in prison. However, this law is not often enforced, and sexual harassment still occurs frequently.
As a result, the Brazilian journalists have released a campaign video. Bruna Dealtry instantly grabs the viewer’s attention as she says, “It happened to me” and footage is shown of a man attempting to kiss her as she jerks away from him. After that, Renata de Medeiros shares her story and a clip of a man calling her an inappropriate name.
Dealtry actually shared her thoughts regarding this experience on her Facebook page on March 13. She explained how, although she’ll tolerate beer baths, fan jumping, and other aspects of the sports atmosphere, she will not tolerate disrespect.
“Today, I felt in the skin the feeling of helplessness that many women feel in stadiums, subways, or even walking through the streets. A kiss on the mouth, without my permission, while I exercised my profession, who left me without knowing how to act and without understanding how someone can feel the right to act like this,” she wrote.
Like Dealtry, de Medeiros also wrote about her experience on social media.
“I asked you to repeat it while I was filming. He assaulted me. I never thought I’d go through this work,” she said.
Even though these women love their jobs, they are tired of the adversity they face and will continue to call for change.
“Respect our voice and choices. Stop the suspicion. Stop treating us differently,” the women plead.
Four women end the video saying, “It’s disrespectful. It’s disgusting. It’s offensive. It’s violence.” Clearly, these women know sexual harassment as a form of violence and call on the public to understand why it’s wrong. They urge others to speak up about their own experiences and remind them that to say nothing is to prolong the harassment.
These brave women fight against the status quo in Brazil, but the problem doesn’t only lie in Brazil. It’s time for journalists to join together and fight against harassment that reporters face, especially in the sports industry.
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