The management office that oversees the US National Science Foundation sent researchers to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica after receiving complaints about sexual violence rampant at the US scientific research base.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) indicated that it is stepping up its own efforts to address this “pervasive problem” within the federal agency.
On Friday he announced the appointment of Renée Ferranti as special assistant to the director of the NSF, to focus on sexual abuse and harassment prevention and response.
The women described experiencing an abusive environment there. Liz Monahon, who works as a mechanic at the station, told the AP that she always carries a hammer to protect herself from someone on a mission.
Internal communications obtained by the AP indicate that the NSF Office of Inspector General, or OIG, will send investigators to remain at the base from next Monday until November 17.
Vonder Haar said his agents have been responding remotely to complaints from female workers in Antarctica since July and he plans to have a presence there in the coming summers.
The AP investigation highlights the lack of support many women feel from management of the Antarctic program. A woman feels obligated to carry a hammer at all times to protect herself. Another woman reported that she was forced to work with a man who groped her.
The 2022 NSF report found that 59% of women said they had experienced harassment or assault while at the station. Alcohol consumption is a factor in some cases.