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Poll: Nearly 20% of Finnish Defence Forces workers say they've faced sexual harassment

The employee survey was chiefly carried out to continue the conversation about harassment and find ways to reduce it.

Puolustusvoimien virkapukuja roikkumassa rekissä.
File photo. Image: Matti Myller / Yle

Nearly one-in-five people who work for the Finnish Defence Forces told pollsters they had faced sexual harassment at some point while on the job, according to Turku daily Turun Sanomat.

The Finnish Defence Forces queried about 800 workers about on-the-job harassment at the beginning of December.

Some 17 percent of the poll's respondents said that they had experienced sexual harassment at work "sometimes" or "once." The types of harassment the poll asked about included inappropriate speech or unwanted physical contact.

The Defence Forces online communications chief Anna Lind told the paper that taking verbal harassment into consideration likely increased the figures.

The overwhelming majority of respondents however, some 77 percent, said they had never experienced such harassment while working in the armed forces.

The survey did not specifically differentiate those polled by gender, but the paper reports that the Defence Forces employs some 12,000 people, including around 2,600 women.

The agency underscored that the survey was not a comprehensive study, but rather a poll meant to continue the conversation about — and reduce — sexual harassment at work, the paper reports.

"We feel that discussing and defining appropriate and not-appropriate behaviours is a good way to increase understanding of the topic and will help people function properly in everyday life," Lind said.

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