Parliamentary assistants Jeanne Ponte and Anni Saga Hirvelä launched Metooep to highlight the extent of sexual harassment within the European Parliament
Women and men employed at the European Parliament are being encouraged to report sexual harassment, sexism and sexual assault in a staff-led web platform.
Metooep.com was launched by parliamentary assistants Jeanne Ponte and Anni Saga Hirvelä on 9 October to empower people to report sexual harassment.
The two also call for an external audit, mandatory training against sexual harassment for senior staff and the creation of an anti-harassment committee to provide support to victims.
“Sexual harassment occurs in every workplace, including the European Parliament. Thus it is imperative to ensure that our own house is in order,” they wrote.
The testimonials shared anonymously vary from casual sexist comments to hugely inappropriate proposals and rape at the hands of a colleague.
“I hoped to be a politician one day but I have no more energy. No confidence to even speak some days. We work hard in committees and plenary to keep this incredible House working so well. Don’t forget about us. We are still hurting,” wrote one victim.
No names are given but at least one of the posters indicated that their tormentors were still in office. In some, the victims said they reported the matter.
The full extent of sexual harassment within the institution is not known as not all victims report incidents.
In 2014, Ponte led an initiative against sexual harassment and assault in parliament by recording 65 instances of harassment and inappropriate behaviour in a notebook. She told Politico in a recent interview the point was not to “personalize the cause for any single MEP or political group”. Instead, she wants to tackle it “holistically”. Furthermore, Ponte wants the fight against sexual harassment to be a central campaign element in the 2019 European Parliament election.