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Bullying, harassment, London Fire Brigade

(44 Posts)
Wyllow3 Sat 26-Nov-22 17:41:26

The report reveals quite shocking bullying and harassment against women and racial minorities and LGBT individuals.
At management level. I'm shocked tho not totally surprised.

but what is it with these men, in respected jobs, continuing this white male behaviour? What are they like when they go home? How can this ever change? what's happening in families where this continues to be perpetuated - a huge number.

Oh course, if it exists in one fire service...

How can we change our men and sons?

SueDonim Sat 26-Nov-22 18:26:36

I was discussing this with my Dh earlier and saying I didn’t understand the mindset that makes someone think they can act in such an obnoxious manner. Then I thought, I’m glad I didn’t understand the mindset, because I wouldn’t want to think such things.

How can anyone in this day and age think that behaviour is acceptable? I don’t know what can be done about it, because it’s not something anyone in my family or friends would dream of doing. I guess if they witness it, they can challenge it, though even that might be risky nowadays. sad

Septimia Sat 26-Nov-22 18:42:47

I don't think punishment in any form is the answer for people who behave like this as it is only likely to make them more resentful and unpleasant.

What they're doing is showing their ignorance, so need educating, preferably from an early age.

Wyllow3 Sat 26-Nov-22 18:45:58

Wha happened was the managers to whom it was reported to, instead of taken action against the perpetrators, moved the victims on across London to other stations.

They are going to suspend or sack the worst offenders, and they deserve it.

GagaJo Sat 26-Nov-22 19:13:55

I agree Wyllow. There is no place in public services for racists and bigots. And this applies to the managers, for not dealing with the problem.

If all employers held a zero tolerance policy to bigotry and discrimination, it would stamp these attitudes out a lot sooner.

Oldbat1 Sat 26-Nov-22 19:27:39

Shocking report. I’m speechless.

Redrobin51 Sat 26-Nov-22 22:06:53

I could barely credit what I was reading. My husband and I were only just discussing it you would think it was the 1960/1970s not 2022. He couldn't understand their mentality as no men we know would think any of it was remotely acceptable or funny.

tickingbird Sat 26-Nov-22 22:11:08

I think it’s how men behave when together in large groups. It’s overgrown schoolboy bullying cloaked as banter. It’s vile and needs stamping on.

Callistemon21 Sat 26-Nov-22 22:59:27


I think it’s how men behave when together in large groups. It’s overgrown schoolboy bullying cloaked as banter. It’s vile and needs stamping on.

I agree that could be why it has happened and is perpetuated, that some, not all, men do behave like this as they think they might be perceived as weak if they didn't. It's a hard mentality.

What are they like when they go home?
Quite different, probably. If married, good husbands and fathers and their families might be shocked to know they were involved in any of this bullying.

Callistemon21 Sat 26-Nov-22 23:00:06

Herd mentality, not hard

Katie59 Sun 27-Nov-22 08:42:05

Firemen have always been a pretty macho bunch, no surprises that behavior is sometimes over the top and inappropriate. One of my cousins is a retained fireman, a fitness fanatic and competes in Iron Man competitions, no suggestion of anything unpleasant with him.
We do need a capable Fire and Rescue service, just weed out the idiots, there are plenty of others willing to take their jobs.

tickingbird Sun 27-Nov-22 09:02:03

Firemen are fit, it goes with the job but wherever there’s male dominated groups there’s this type of behaviour. It’s the same in the police, the armed forces et al. In the US the college ‘jocks’ engage in hazing and I know of young men and boys out of school going through repeated humiliation as newcomers in garages, workshops, even a small fireplace business. If it’s male dominated this is how they carry on - about time it was outlawed.

Oreo Sun 27-Nov-22 09:11:19

You’re right tickingbird
All the services, police, firemen, armed forces are a lot the same.Why? I think because they have to face danger and see a load of awful things.
So they use banter and macho stuff to hide feelings behind?

silverlining48 Sun 27-Nov-22 09:14:10

The Navy is being investigated because of similar behaviour. Police too, no doubt the army , all male dominated where it seems ok to behave badly. Do any of the men involved think how they would feel if it were their daughters sisters mothers. being treated with so little respect.

Wyllow3 Sun 27-Nov-22 09:22:42

well that's it silverlining48 their loved women relatives.
but it still says something about those who dont merely tolerate,

but actively take part.

its bullying and abuse pure and simple and they need to be called out, and imo in those services, engage in active awareness training. Like having to truly "hear" their victims alongside their fellow workers.

Like having to be exposed to their N and D about how they have been at work. Shame them. Locker room mentality is not OK any more.

silverlining48 Sun 27-Nov-22 09:24:38

Did anyone hear the recent Woman’s Hour interview with the woman who had worked in the submarines. It was shocking.

Lollin Sun 27-Nov-22 09:48:34

It sadly does not surprise me.When you have institutions steeped in traditional hierarchy for decades, who then have to make a show of accepting change, it is going to take decades before such institutions reach a point where they can no longer continue with such hatred and in such a despicable manner. I always thought positive discrimination set up the various minorities to either join in/shut up and put up/leave. So, it’s because people didn’t leave why this is in the headlines isn’t it

Grantanow Sun 27-Nov-22 12:14:07

I agree this will take a very long time to resolve. One problem is likely to be recruitment - we have an ageing population - to replace those sacked. We need a fully effective fire service and the staffing capability to respond to calls may outweigh other considerations in the short term. Just saying.

Dickens Sun 27-Nov-22 13:20:56

I looked at the comments on Microsoft News on this article.

Almost to a man - and it was mainly men - they pooh-poohed it, denied it, and suggested that the problem was with 'woke lefties' with an 'agenda'. Some just didn't believe it at all and said it was the media (woke, naturally) just wanting to stir up trouble.

It's only when you read such comments that you realise there's still a huge number of misogynists and racists among us. It's ignorance in its purest and simplest form. And the stubbornness - the refusal to accept facts or evidence - that goes along with such ignorance.

These men have mothers, wives and daughters. It boggles the mind. And it's depressing,very depressing.

I didn't comment, didn't argue. Sometimes ignorance and prejudice is so overwhelming that it's pointless. I just hope these individuals haven't handed down their warped views to the next generation and that they die along with them.

HousePlantQueen Sun 27-Nov-22 13:35:32

You have just written what I was about to Dickens. Sadly, often when this kind of issue is raised, there are accusations of being 'woke' or that old favourite 'political correctness gone mad'. As for men patronising women, do we remember Cameron and his 'Calm down dear' comment to a fellow, female MP? I wonder if his wife criticised him for that?

Iam64 Sun 27-Nov-22 13:41:44

Thanks for the update on comments below the article in Microsoft news, Dickens.
I acknowledge the pressure on senior fire service managers interviewed this morning but I felt some despair that not one admitted having heard or seen this kind of disgusting behaviour in the service. It’s cultural or wouldn’t have been so frequently experienced by its victims
Yes, the fire, police and military services need staff brave enough to run into, not away from trouble. That doesn’t mean mindless, macho thuggery - quite the opposite

silverlining48 Sun 27-Nov-22 14:27:59

The Army are refusing an independent investigation, they want their own people, the military, doing it, turkeys voting for Christmas springs to mind.

Wyllow3 Sun 27-Nov-22 14:45:06

Splendid post, Dickens.

"Sadly, often when this kind of issue is raised, there are accusations of being 'woke' or that old favourite 'political correctness gone mad'

yup, been there, had it, fed up with it. We're just asking human beings to be respectful and decent to each other

Of course, you pick your moments - and its usually better approaching individuals than in a group or meeting. Unless it's the topic of the meeting.

I was in a Zoom discussing leading support groups in a particular vulnerable group, and one man pontificated, "well, the "man in the street" such and such. I reacted without thinking about "best approach" and just said quietly, "man or woman" and he threw back, "oh not all the WOKE stuff". I didn't react, not appropriate, but talked afterwards to the facilitator asking her was he really suitable yet to lead or facilitate groups with vulnerable women and PoC in them.

But it would have been better to talk to him quietly when I met him in person.

I think some apparently "Strong" men are actually afraid of women. Still want us to be "lesser" or "smaller" somehow.

Still, it's shocking to me - the sheer level of institutionalised racism and sexism in the Fire Service emerging in the report. In the 1970's when I was involved in the Womens Movement (well, the second one, as they list was the (Emancipation Movement) we wanted to bring men with us not set up in opposition in some way.

NotSpaghetti Sun 27-Nov-22 18:09:01

When I worked with women fleeing domestic abuse the proportion of women escaping firemen was totally out of proportion to the number of firemen in the country.
All the uniformed services were disproportionately represented.
Either they tended to attract more of a particular sort of man or the culture was deeply damaging.

I am not saying that there are no truly great, kind and honourable men in uniforms of one sort or another - but it was sufficiently noticeable to me that it was something I discussed with workers in other geographical locations to see if my area was an aberration!

Iam64 Sun 27-Nov-22 18:24:44

Not Spaghetti, scarily, the number of women reporting DA from partners who are serving police officers is disproportionally high. Many of the women reporting are serving police officers.
I believe it’s cultural and needs outside involvement. The Navy officer on radio r insisted it needed internal investigators who understand the navy. We rest our case