Commentary: We must address the potential for sexual harassment in space


For humankind to safely take its next steps into the universe, the culture of space exploration must change. These harrowing events call for national agencies and private space companies to adopt a proactive stance against sexual harassment and assault.

NASA and other space organisations must go beyond implementing basic anti-harassment policies. They must devote the necessary resources to put in place proper prevention, reporting and response infrastructures, including the support and protection of victim-survivors.

This may include the creation of separate oversight entities composed of sexologists and qualified health and psychosocial professionals. This may also include investing in the study of human relationships and sexual health in space.

Victim-survivors need to be part of the conversation and solutions, every step of the way. This is essential to ensure the safety of Earth-based and space environments, and ethically conduct much-needed scientific research on human spacelife.

MeToo taught us that collective action is powerful. And in the words of Lapierre: “It is time, more than ever, to meet the real challenges of space exploration, with honesty, transparency, and by recognising that Earth’s unacceptable behaviors are also Space’s unacceptable behaviors for a spacefaring civilisation.”

Maria Santaguida is PhD Candidate, Psychology of Human Sexuality, Erotic Technology & Space Sexology at Concordia University.

Judith Lapierre is Professor, Nursing Science at Université Laval.

Simon Dubé is Postdoc Research Fellow, Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.

Emily Apollonio, CEO of Interstellar Performance Labs, co-authored this article.

This commentary first appeared on The Conversation.

Source By