Added: Kelcy Wainwright - Date: 16.11.2021 21:35 - Views: 22554 - Clicks: 9176
A new study has revealed sexual harassment is driving workers out of the Cook Islands tourism industry. The finger is being pointed not only at drunk customers but at suggestive and overly sexualised marketing, the increasingly skimpy costumes worn at cultural shows and tourists' misunderstanding of traditions like the aravei, or kiss, which Cook Islanders give on greeting. Cook Islander Lisa Sadaraka has released the findings of research conducted in as part of her hospitality studies at the Auckland University of Technology.
She said the interviews with 32 men and women across the industry showed an overwhelming lack of awareness about the issue and the need for policies and training as well as a conversation about how the country is trying to attract visitors.
Ms Sadaraka said of the 21 employees interviewed, only two reported they had not experienced sexual harassment by a customer and those two had had little contact with guests. And I've had the uncomfortable staring where they're looking you up and down," one cafe owner told Ms Sadaraka. It's my job. I can sense the men don't like it, because of my tattoos and because I look good. They feel uncomfortable because of their partners.
But the women love it. When I take my shirt off the ladies say "Wow! Discussion about the perceived reasons for high rates of sexual harassment was also part of the study and Ms Sadaraka said participants were most vocal about inauthentic cultural dances and costumes and their effect on customers. Because that is not our culture!
Several participants said at cultural shows the style, technique and movements of female dancers had changed considerably and costumes were more revealing than in the past. I think this has a big impact on their behaviour. Dancers at the 51st anniversary of self-governance with the annual Constitution Day ceremony at the National Auditorium on main island Rarotonga.
Ms Sadaraka said tourism marketing slogans like "Play With Me" and 'dusky maiden' style imagery were sending the wrong message to visitors. It's like no mate, I ain't hitting on you, I'm just being friendly, showing you our Cook Islands way," she said. Ms Sadaraka said her research, covering a traditionally taboo subject, had been welcomed by the Cook Islands tourism industry.
Although we are separated by Moana Nui O Kiva, it is the ocean that connects and binds us. We have already received so many messages of support, and wonderful pledges of assistance from those wanting to help. Photo: Marumaru Atua - Give a little. She said ten out of 11 employers interviewed admitted to not having policies and procedures in place to counter sexual harassment. While some workers admitted tolerating the harassment as part of the job, Ms Sadaraka said it was leading to a loss of productivity and people moving out of the industry altogether, with implications for the industry in a tight labour market.
She also said the study had implications for other Pacific island countries which relied heavily on tourism. Pacific RSS. Follow RNZ News.
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