4.1 Sexual Harassment in EMS
This series of blog posts was developed for the Fine Literature Book Club on Facebook. Crossing the Line was their April 2022 group read, and I was honored to lead the discussion.
Chapter 4 reveals more about Megan’s relationships with the people around her.
We see that she has not only accepted Nathan and his disability, but fully trusts him. She stands up for him against the animosity of others and agrees to demonstrate her trust at the literal end of a rope.
Nathan also examines her relationship with Martin, the firefighter. It has puzzled him thus far. But then we read:
‘Nathan realized Martin’s crude harassment and Megan’s seemingly misplaced tolerance was a game, the cover of a strong friendship and mutual respect. He wondered if there was more to their relationship and felt a keen dissatisfaction. If he hadn’t known better, he would have thought he was jealous.’
So, a game.
This is one of the strange social interactions that often occurs in public safety—and one that can get people in trouble. EMS is a world of intensity as well as levels of intimacy that are not common in other workplaces. It’s easy to pal around, tell jokes, throw playful insults, and then all of a sudden, someone gets hurt or offended and a hostile workplace exists.
It’s important that strong communication be in place between coworkers and from leadership where fun can be had, but harassment is left out. Megan and Martin’s relationship could easily be considered “hostile workplace” behavior, but they have a clear understanding between the two of them that will become more apparent as the book continues.
And also…this is fiction. ← A very important point.
Here is an article I wrote for EMS1, a nation-wide EMS magazine. It describes the various types of sexual harassment and what people can do to address it EMS. The real world very rarely aligns with fiction, and the consequences here are real.
If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, click here to read more about what to do.