Sexual harassment is rampant in the advertising industry as it is in every other industry. The entrenched hierarchies of this world, agency culture, the male dominance at virtually every agency make for conditions in which sexual abuse (and indeed abuse of all kinds) can flourish with impunity.
Because it is so difficult for many victims in our industry to speak out about cases of sexual harassment and sexual abuse, we have decided to create multiple ANONYMOUS surveys.
1) Is a general survey which asks (created on March 22, 2018) questions about gender, diversity, and experiences of unwanted behaviors and sexual harassment. You can download a PDF version of the survey here and use it at will. Feel free to pass it out to others in your workplace. If you would like your own online version of this survey, send us a direct message on Instagram and we will provide you with your own online version of the survey. You will have sole control of seeing the respondents answers. The online version of the survey is totally anonymous and confidentiality is guaranteed.
You can share your own story using the Survey Submission Form which can be found here. Our hope is that this survey will allow victims to find a safe way to anonymously report their experience of sexual harassment. Our goal is for these stories as a whole to help others begin to grasp the true scope and scale of this problem in the advertising industry. We hope it provides aggregate information in the form of personal stories of abuse and its career outcomes for victims (which, we consider the most potent form of data), paving the way for more frank conversations and more effective interventions.
Women are overwhelmingly the victims of sexual harassment, and until this issue is addressed head-on, women will continue to be hounded out of advertising, as they are from every other career from comedy to politics. We hope that gathering stories will allow women, in particular, to know they are not alone, and create conditions for women to thrive in their chosen careers.
Share your own story using the Survey Submission Form below.
PLEASE BE AWARE:
- Do NOT list any names
- Your answers will automatically be entered (totally anonymously, with no way to track your identity) into a PUBLIC SPREADSHEET, VISIBLE TO ALL, which you may view by clicking through to it. Please do not share any information you don’t wish to be immediately visible to the public.
- To share your own story of sexual harassment CLICK HERE FOR THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT SURVEY SUBMISSION FORM; this will enter your story into the public spreadsheet
- And here again is the link to the SPREADSHEET OF RESPONSES where you can follow each individual entry through all of its elements.
The stories on the spreadsheet make for brutal but urgent reading. Thank you to all who have participated. And thank you to those who have followed up via email or Instagram to name their harassers and those who protected them. Feel free to contact us via Instagram @dietmadisonave if you have any questions.
The sum total of these entries allows everyone to see that sexual predation is endemic to the power hierarchies in ways that almost perfectly parallel Hollywood: powerful older men are gatekeepers to vulnerable younger women, use their power for sexual predation, and are then protected by other senior men and women who are more invested more in preserving the power structure than in defending victims. Women of color are doubly vulnerable and doubly bullied when they see redress.
This entry lays out the dynamic of enabling that prevails:
My CCO had all the security that race, class, gender, and position at a top agency can bestow. And still he was too afraid to do his job properly. I was a woman, crushed under student loans, without institutional support, and minus parents or any other safety net back in the working-class world from which I’d come. How was I supposed to confront this man on my own when people who could have — and should have — would not?
So I did what a lot of women do. I walked away from a life in which I’d invested time, money, and work. I spent the next several years blaming myself, replaying the scenes, repeating the words of those in power. I had mixed feelings of relief and resentment as I met others who told different versions of “Yes, everyone knows he’s like this.”
Sharing your story, even anonymously, can be transformative for victims. You can see that you’re not alone, that you did nothing wrong, that the structure sets you up for victimization and systematically prevents consequences for the perpetrator. We believe this document removes plausible deniability from advertising institutions about the pervasiveness and severity of sexual harassment, and we hope that it can promote greater peace, clarity, and resolve among its many victims, no matter what they choose to do moving forward.