Midshipman X bravely shared her sexual assault with the industry. Now, Women Offshore welcomes the maritime industry to stand up against sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH). The conversation has ignited, and you are invited to join.

Mariner Fionna Boyle, in conjunction with Women Offshore Foundation, is calling for an industry-wide StandUp Against SASH on Sunday, October 24 at 12:30 pm local time, wherever you may be.

This global SASH StandUp is an organized effort to speak openly, honestly, and unapologetically on your ship and in your office about SASH. Discuss how it is destructively affecting our industry and our seafarers, as well as how we can work together to stamp out assault on the water. There is no place for this repugnant behavior on our vessels or in our industry. We are tired of the lack of meaningful action, and it is time to unite for real and lasting change. Seize this opportunity with us.

Here are the details you need to know to join in support of Midshipman X and to propel an industry-wide transformation.

Who: All Cadets, Seafarers, and Maritime Industry Professionals
What: Safety Sunday SASH StandUp
Where: Ashore & Afloat
When: 24 October 2021, Sunday, @ 12:30 Local Time

There is so much that goes unsaid surrounding SASH in our industry. Now is our opportunity to bring these issues to the forefront.

We challenge everyone in maritime, from the cadets to the CEOs, from the local lawmakers to our national governments, to step up and tackle hard conversations with your colleagues, your employees, your teachers, your managers, your administrators, and anyone who will listen. We challenge businesses, academies, and unions to be actively involved in the conversation. We encourage conversations within your personal support system whether it be friends or family. And finally, we challenge our male counterparts, who may not have experienced SASH, to listen. Listen and learn how to be an active advocate for women in maritime. Learn how to be an ally on the water and in the workplace. We need your help.

Starting the conversation can be difficult and you might not know where to begin. Here are some talking points you can explore with your team.

  • Reflect on MIDN X’s story. She is a voice of unspoken victims of sexual assault at sea.
  • How would sexual harassment and sexual assault impact your life at sea?
  • Review your company sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention policy.
  • Discuss how you would help a victim if a crew member told you they were assaulted.
  • Identify resources your company provides for victims including designated persons ashore, medical assistance, and counseling options. Make them easily accessible for everyone aboard.
  • If applicable, discuss the effects of alcohol onboard. List alternative morale-boosting activities.
  • Outline how you and your crew will provide a safe, healthy, and respectful workplace to cadets, new hires, and trainees.
  • Brainstorm ways to be an ally in the industry.
  • Recognize that all genders are victims to bullying, harassment, and assault.
  • Pinpoint improvements you can make now and act on them.
  • Hot Topic: If you had the opportunity, what would you propose to your captain, company, DPA, HR, CEO, Maritime Administration, country, or IMO, for an improved overall climate and culture? (send these to us at [email protected])

Shining a spotlight on SASH and communicating with your team is a good start. Here are some immediate actions you can take together.

  • Using secret ballot, everyone submits a 1-10 rating on current ship culture. Discuss results.
  • Identify areas for improvement. Write a plan for continued improvements around SASH.
  • Post your improvement plan for accountability.
  • Post resources for victims in public and private areas around your workplace.
  • Share resources for becoming a workplace ally.
  • If there is no SASH policy, work together to draft one and submit it to leadership.
  • Plan a follow up SASH meeting. Designate leaders against SASH in your group.
  • Put your plan to work, take another secret ballot at your follow-up meeting to gauge progress.

We want to hear from you. After your meeting email us at [email protected]. Tell us about your StandUp and send us your proposals for industry change. We are working hard to make all our voices heard and we will publicly advocate for change. Send us your ideas! Make sure you also share your ideas with leadership on your vessel and in your company.

If you are unable to plan a StandUp at 12:30 we encourage you to make time to initiate conversations on SASH Sunday. Conversations can happen at your safety meeting, at break time, during your meal, and throughout your day.

Let’s share our StandUp experiences on social media using the hashtags #SASHstandup and #SASHsunday and outwardly show the industry and lawmakers how important this discussion is and how necessary action on their part has become.

We will see you Sunday. Stay safe out there and we’ll talk to you soon.

Laura McFalls

About The Author: Laura McFalls

I worked offshore from 2014 to 2020. I passionately support the careers of women working on the water. I hold the position of VP at Women Offshore.

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