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Sexual Abuse Shame on Mining Giants Rio Tinto and BHP


Sexual abuse disgraces mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP: Landmark investigation finds ‘horrific and appalling’ treatment of women

Women who work for some of the world’s greatest miners have been subjected to years of “horrific” sexual abuse, a landmark study finds.

An explosive report in the Australian mining sector exposed the ‘terrible’ treatment of women at companies such as Rio Tinto and BHP, both of which were listed on the London Stock Exchange at the time.

One of the cases it highlights is a woman who testified during the investigation that she “was knocked unconscious in her donga and woke up to find her jeans and underpants around her ankles.”

Outback: Women were abused while working for companies including Rio Tinto and BHP in remote locations in Australia

There were also stories of sex dolls being put in front of women’s dongas — the name given to workers’ huts in mining camps — or hung on their doors.

And the report criticized Rio and BHP for ignoring or overlooking illegal and criminal behavior.

The industry has now been urged to set up a sex crime register to prevent workers fired for harassing and assaulting female colleagues from finding jobs elsewhere.

The report followed a year-long investigation launched after a series of sexual assaults at Fly-In-Fly-Out camps in Western Australia – one of the world’s largest mining centers.

Entitled “Enough Is Enough,” it provides excruciating detail about the abuse that female workers have been subjected to for years in the male-dominated industry — and a “culture of cover-up.”

In addition to “horrific” sexual assaults, the survey said women had reported being subjected to “unsolicited and unwanted attention,” stalking, texting of explicit and lewd material, provocative photo requests and “grooming” of young female students by older adults. men colleagues.

One described a bizarre power play known as “create,” in which iron ore would be dumped on the cabs of women’s trucks if they did not comply with sexual requests.

Another reported driving a truck and nearly causing a collision. She was told by the site manager that he could “let the security screening go away” if she had sex with him.

Truck driver Astacia Stevens told the parliamentary inquiry that she wanted to switch from working for a contractor for Rio to working directly for the company, wearing the company logo on her shirt. But a male superior demanded that she have sex with him if she wanted a job at Rio.

One woman described how a male colleague pushed his hand down through her top several times in front of other employees, but no one did anything.

Victim: Truck driver Astacia Stevens told the parliamentary inquiry

Victim: Truck driver Astacia Stevens told the parliamentary inquiry

Research Chair Libby Mettam, deputy leader of the Liberal Party in Western Australia, paid tribute to the “brave women” who had come forward and said that while she had expected “horrific stories” to emerge from the investigation, she was “shocked.” and shocked beyond expectations by the magnitude and depth of the problem’.

She said: “To hear the lived reality of the taunts, attacks and targeted violence, the devastation and despair experienced by the victims, the threats or the loss of their livelihood that resulted was mind-boggling and utterly unforgivable.”

The inquiry by the Standing Committee on Community Development and Justice of Western Australia heard how conditions in outback mining camps allowed “sexual harassment in the workplace to thrive.”

These conditions included a heavy drinking culture, with workers gathering in the ‘wet mess’ of the camp to get drunk after a hard day’s work away from their families. One worker described a culture of ‘what happens at the camp, stays at the camp’.

The survey ran for nearly a year, receiving nearly 100 submissions, and spotlighting some of the largest mining companies, including Rio and BHP.

According to the investigation, BHP fired 48 employees over two years for inappropriate behavior, while Rio fired at least 12 employees last year for assault or intimidation.

The parliamentary report made 24 recommendations, including an ‘industry-wide worker register’, modeled on the existing system for people who work with children.

What the victims said?

“I was knocked unconscious in my donga. When I woke up, my jeans and underpants were around my ankles. I felt sick, ashamed, violated, dirty and very confused.’

“I’ve had a man put his hands in my top several times in front of other workers and nobody did anything.”

“Some mining sites promote a culture of ‘what happens at the camp, stays at the camp’. This, combined with heavy drinking, is a recipe for harassment.’


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